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CardChron


I: Sept. 17, 1920
II: Nov. 7, 1920
III: Nov. 28, 1920
IV: Oct. 7, 1923
V: Nov. 26, 1925
VI: Dec. 6, 1925
VII: Nov. 6, 1929
VIII: Nov. 28, 1929
IX: Oct. 24, 1933
X: Nov. 28, 1935
XI: Oct. 14, 1945
XII: Apr. 19, 1947
XIII: Dec. 28, 1947
XIV: Dec. 19, 1948
XV: Mar. 23, 1959
XVI: Mar. 13, 1960
XVII: Dec. 6, 1964
XVIII: Nov. 7, 1965
XIX: Nov. 16, 1970
XX: Dec. 27, 1975
XXI: Jan. 8, 1983
XXII: Dec. 16, 1984
XXIII: Nov. 8, 1987
XXIV: Mar. 15, 1988
XXV: Dec. 23, 1990
XXVI: Dec. 24, 1994

CARDINAL CHRONICLE XIV
December 19, 1948: "The Blizzard Bowl"

- - - - - Most football fans are familiar with the 1967 championship game known as the "Ice Bowl," between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. However, the lesser-known championship game of 1948 was played in equally arctic conditions, and has been dubbed the "Blizzard Bowl" and the "Arctic Bowl." A blinding snowstorm swept through Philadelphia the day of the game between the Cardinals and the Eagles, making play nearly impossible.
- - - - - The game was a rematch of not only the previous year's championship battle, in which the Cards won 28-21, but also of the opening day game of the 1948 season. The Cardinals won that game too, but the locker-room atmosphere after the game was quite the opposite of the scene of jubilation one would have expected following a 21-14 victory. Star tackle Stan Mauldin collapsed in the dressing room and died of a brain hemorrhage. His #77 would later be retired by the team, one of only four numbers retired by the Cards (Larry Wilson's #8, J.V. Cain's #88, and teammate Marshall Goldberg's #99 are the others).
- - - - - The Cardinals would fall to their cross-town rivals, 28-17, the following week, but the rest of the regular season would see the team go on a tear that has never been witnessed by a Cardinals team before, or since. The offense, which historically has never been the team's strongest point, finally had the capability to destroy and humiliate opponents. Among their victims was the New York Giants. The Giants had won 13 of the 15 meetings against the Cardinals (including a 35-31 decision in Chicago's 1947 championship season), but this time, the Cards would unleash 22 years of frustration, hanging 63 points on their rivals. For their part in the beating, the Giants managed 35 points, making this 98-point meeting the highest combined-scoring contest in Cardinals' history.
- - - - - The Boston Yanks, Detroit Lions, and Green Packers also gave up big points to the Big-Red in 49-27, 56-20, and 42-7 losses, respectively. But, as in 1947, both Chicago franchises were tied going into their season-closing meeting. Again, the two teams met at the Bears' Wrigley Field, and again, the same team prevailed. The Cardinals earned their second straight Western Division title by a closer margin, 24-21. So, with ten straight victories, the Cards finished the season with an 11-1 mark, the franchise's best winning percentage in history. Also, their 395 points over a 12-game season gave them an average of 39.2 points per game, good enough for seventh place in NFL history.
- - - - - Seven days after their victory in Chicago, the Cardinals traveled to the City of Brotherly Love to meet the Eagles. Injured against the Bears was quarterback Paul Christman and he would not be able to play in the championship game. However, losing their QB was the least of the Cardinals' worries. A blizzard swept across Philadelphia the day of the game, blanketing the entire gridiron of Shibe Park with four inches of snow. The conditions were so bad that Eagle HB Steve Van Buren assumed the game would be canceled and went back to sleep that morning. He would later have to rush to the game, making it just in time to help members of both teams pull the tarpaulin off the field. Within minutes, the field would again be covered by snow, obliterating all yard markers and prompting Commissioner Bert Bell to rule that no measurements were to be made (referee Ronald Gibbs would be the sole judge of first downs and touchdowns). A crowd of only 28,864 braved the elements to witness the contest in-person.
- - - - - Yet, despite the blinding conditions, the Eagles managed a spectacular play early in the contest. Their first play from scrimmage resulted in a 65-yard touchdown pass. However, it was negated by an offsides penalty, and both teams would slosh futilely in the snow for most of the remainder of the game, although the Eagles appeared to have the advantage. Finally, in the closing minute of the third quarter, one team received a break it desperately needed. On their own 19-yard line, Cardinal QB Ray Mallouf fumbled a hand-off to Charlie Trippi, and Philadelphia's Frank Kilroy recovered at the Cards' 17-yard line. Four plays later, the Eagles would score on Van Buren's 5-yard run, and Cliff Patton's successful try for point gave Philadelphia an "insurmountable" 7-0 fourth-quarter lead. Throughout the rest of the game, the Cardinals would handle the ball for only six more plays. Chicago would never seriously threaten, and their deepest penetration of the game was to the Eagles' 30-yard line in the first period. As the final gun sounded, the Eagles had possession on the Cards' 2-yard line. Thus, the game ended with the Eagles winning their first NFL Championship in team history by a score of 7-0. The Chicago Cardinals, a team that posted the seventh-best offensive output in NFL history (through 1996), failed to score a single point.

NEXT : March 23, 1959 - Following two consecutive appearances in championship games, the Cardinals return to their former selves and sink to the bottom of the NFL standings. Finally, after a desperate decade, they are forced to trade their only legitimate superstar, Ollie Matson, to Pete Rozelle and his Los Angeles Rams for the rights to nine players.

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