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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

March 13, 1960: New City, Same Old Cards?

- - - - - The professional football franchise currently known as the Arizona Cardinals began its great adventure in Chicago at the close of the nineteenth century. For over twenty years, leagues were formed and dissolved, other Chicago teams came and went, but the Cards never folded. After the 1920 season (the first in what would later become the NFL), the Cardinals challenged the other Chicago franchise, the Tigers, to a match to determine which team would have the right to represent the Windy City. The Cardinals would win, and the Tigers faded out of NFL history.
- - - - - By 1921, the city would once again have two professional teams; George Halas secured permission to move his Decatur Staleys into the Cardinals' territory. This team would later call itself the Bears. Although both franchises were nearly equally competitive during the early part of the decade, it was soon clear which team would win the hearts of the city's fans. From 1932 to 1946, the Bears made nine appearances in championship games, winning six of them. The Cardinals, on the other hand, stumbled for only two winning seasons. By the time the Cards won it all in 1947, it was perhaps too late to win back much support. The 1950s saw the Big-Red slowly deteriorating and it was clear something had to be done to save the franchise. With declining attendance and no television revenue, team owner Violet Bidwill decided in 1960 to relocate the Cards after more than 60 years Chicago.
- - - - - The NFL was in an expansion mood, having awarded two new teams in late January: Minneapolis on January 27 (to begin play in 1961), and Dallas on January 28 (to begin play in 1960). Expansion studies done by the league indicated that St. Louis would also be a desirable city for another franchise. With the newly formed rival league, the AFL, eyeing this promising bit of territory, the NFL wanted to secure a team in the area. So, on March 13, 1960, the NFL owners unanimously voted to allow the Chicago Cardinals to relocate to St. Louis. Even Redskins owner George Preston Marshall, who for years was very protective of his territory in the South, voted in favor of the move.
- - - - - The transfer not only broke up one of the NFL's longest-standing traditions (the Cardinals in Chicago), but also the familiar four-word phrase: "the hapless Chicago Cardinals." That is not to say that the Cards went on to win numerous championships; they simply became "the hapless St. Louis Cardinals." They had to share the 34,000-seat Busch Stadium with the baseball Cardinals and season-ticket sales fell well below the 25,000 promised by the city. Also, since there was no regular place to practice, the Cardinals worked out in an open field at a city park. In order to avoid confusion with the baseball team, management even considered changing the team's nickname, but in the end, the name "Cardinals" was retained.
- - - - - The team entered the 1960 season with a new home, a new fight song, and a new helmet design. The striking logo (a profile view of the head of a cardinal), and the fight song, "The Cardinals Are Charging," are still used today. On the field, they were vastly improved, and won their first game as the "St. Louis Cardinals," blowing out the Rams, 43-21. Their home-opener against the Giants, however, did not meet with the same success. In a gesture indicative of Chicago's attitude towards the departed Cardinals, the "Chicago Tribune" (which still featured the Cards' games alongside the Bears') headlined the team's roster from the 35-14 loss with "Same Old Cards." Yet, their 6-5-1 record was the team's best since 1956 and RB John David Crow's 203 rushing yards in the season finale against Pittsburgh would establish the team's single-game rushing record that would last 36 years (broken by LeShon Johnson's 214 yard performance in 1996). For the first time in over a decade, the future looked bright for the Big-Red.

NEXT : December 6, 1964 - Stadium troubles threaten to force another move, while, on the field, the Cardinals threaten the powerful Cleveland Browns for a division title and the right to appear in the NFL Championship Game.

1996-2001, by "The Cardinal"
(This page is not affiliated with the NFL or the Arizona Cardinals)