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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 XXI
January 8, 1983: January Madness

- - - - - The NFC East has always been considered one of the league's toughest divisions. Teams from this division have been represented in sixteen of the thirty-one Super Bowls, winning ten of them. Throughout the 1980s, memorable clashes for the divisional title were many, and the winner was often decided in the final week of the season. Also proving the East's competitiveness was the fact that none of its five teams has ever swept the division - regardless of how dominant a team has been, none has managed to win all eight of its divisional games.
- - - - - However, through all of this, one team seemed hopelessly out of place. The St. Louis Cardinals, despite two magnificent runs in the mid-70s, were hardly ever in contention, and are the only team in the division without a Super Bowl appearance. Playing the roles of punching bags, the Cards rarely got the best of their stronger rivals. Perhaps with a lighter schedule, the Cards could have landed an invitation into the five-team NFC playoff tournament more often. Yet, in 1982, St. Louis found another way to sneak into the post-season.
- - - - - With regular-season attendance was at an all-time high and record-setting TV ratings, the NFL season came to an abrupt halt after the second game. At midnight on September 20, following Monday night's game, the NFL Players Association called for a strike. It took fifty-seven days for a compromise to be reached, and eight weeks of the regular season were missed. When order was finally re-established, the NFL picked up in the eleventh week of its schedule. One of the canceled games was added to the end of the season, giving a total of only nine games for each team. With a strike-shortened season, the NFL decided to expand the playoffs into a sixteen-team Super Bowl tournament, with the top eight squads from each conference receiving an invitation. Divisions were dissolved and the fourteen teams from each conference were lumped together. This sixteen-team single-elimination tournament was the largest playoff field in NFL history.
- - - - - The Cards, who had their 1-1 record frozen for two months, won four of their next six regular season games. At 5-3, they stood in good position to host a first-round playoff game. But, as luck would have it, the NFL schedule-makers selected the Big-Red's canceled visit to the 7-1 Washington Redskins as the team's "make-up" game. Outmatched, the Cardinals fell, 28-0, and dropped into the NFC's sixth seed.
- - - - - So, instead of the city of St. Louis hosting its first ever playoff match, the Cards had to travel to the frozen Wisconsin tundra to play the third-seeded Packers. Green Bay dealt St. Louis their worst ever post-season defeat and kept their home-playoff record perfect. Only four other teams, the Cardinals being one of them, have never lost a playoff game at home.
- - - - - As things would turn out, the Cardinals' January 8 meeting with the Packers would be the team's last post-season appearance until 1998. At least Cardinals found some consolation in the fact that their team enjoyed the NFL's longest streak without a post-season defeat during this period. . .

NEXT : December 16, 1984 - One week after assuring themselves of a winning season, the Cardinals battle the division-leading Redskins with a playoff berth on the line. But, the swirling winds at RFK Stadium have other plans for the Cards, dealing the team a blow from which it took almost fifteen years to recover.

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