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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

November 7, 1920: A Season of Firsts

- - - - - When Chris O'Brien entered the Cardinals into the APFA (later the NFL), it appeared as if the team's future was secured. However, during the 1920s and the early part of the 1930s, teams came and went quite frequently. Even teams of championship caliber, such as the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Frankford Yellow Jackets, and Providence Steam Roller, were all gone by 1932. The Cardinals, despite their mediocre play, survived largely because of their big-city locale. Yet, during the 1920 season, there were two teams in Chicago: the Cardinals and the Chicago Tigers. Both teams were well aware of the fact that the city could not support both teams and that competition for the same fan dollar would bring down both franchises. So, O'Brien made the Tigers an offer to play a game in which the loser would fold its operation. The Tigers agreed and the date was set: November 7, 1920.
- - - - - These two teams had already met one month earlier in what became the Cardinals' first NFL game. On October 10, 1920, the Cardinals traveled across town to visit the Tigers and played to a scoreless tie. Although a game has not finished with a 0-0 score since 1943, in the 1920s it was not an uncommon occurrence. The defense had a great advantage over the offense, particularly since the forward pass had not been perfected. The ball was also much rounder than it is today, making it nearly impossible to throw accurately on a consistent basis. The Cardinals' next opponent was the Rock Island Independents, the team who would hand the Big Red the first of a league record 557 losses in a 7-0 decision. The usual game-strategy was to hold defensively, trade punts, gain good field-position, and then block a punt to set up a touchdown. In fact, this is how the Cardinals defeated the Detroit Heralds for their first NFL win; three blocked punts resulted in touchdowns and the Cards went on to win 21-0. Lenny Sachs is credited with the team's first points, recovering the first of the blocked punts for a TD.
- - - - - At the beginning of the season, O'Brien had signed former Northwestern superstar John "Paddy" Driscoll to an unbelievably large salary of $300 per game. Driscoll, however, was well worth the money; he excelled at running, blocking, and punting, as well as at the lost-art of the drop-kick. Throughout his Hall-of-Fame career, Driscoll would connect on many drop-kicks of 50 yards or longer. But it would be his running, not his drop-kicking, that would be the difference in the showdown with the Tigers. One week after their first victory, the Cardinals once again visited the Tigers, this time with the right to represent the Windy City at stake. A 40-yard touchdown run by Driscoll would be the game's only TD, as the Cardinals "eliminated" the Chicago Tigers 6-3. As promised, the Tigers dropped out of competition and the rights to Chicago belonged to O'Brien. However, one year later, George Halas of the Decatur Staleys would request permission from the NFL and from Chris O'Brien to move his team to Chicago. Although the Cards' win over the Tigers gave O'Brien the right to block any professional team from settling there, he approved Halas' request for reasons unknown. Halas' team would later be called the Chicago Bears and eventually drive the Cardinals out of Chicago. But that, as they say, is another story. . .

NEXT : November 28, 1920 - The NFL's oldest on-going rivalry is born as the Cardinals take on the Decatur Staleys (later the Chicago Bears) in a contest that would have championship implications as well as a "fan"-tastic finish.

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