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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 26, 1925: Ghost of a Chance

- - - - - During the NFL's first five seasons, attendance was usually very small. A tiny stadium was more than sufficient to handle these crowds, but this minimal revenue threatened the survival of most franchises as well as the NFL itself; teams came and went on a regular basis. Also, many fans looked down on the professional game, believing that any college team could easily dismantle the "slow, old" pros. It was not until November of 1925 that the NFL received the boost in fan interest and credibility that it desperately needed.
- - - - - Harold "Red" Grange, also known as the "Galloping Ghost," had just completed his collegiate career at the University of Illinois when he signed with the Chicago Bears. This spectacular halfback excited fans with his dazzling running and immediately became the NFL's top draw. This was particularly evident in his professional debut, which was scheduled against the cross-town rival Chicago Cardinals on Thanksgiving Day.
- - - - - Wrigley Field, home of the Bears, was packed with 36,000 fans (a number unheard of in pro-football during these days) who came to see the college star play in his first professional game, fully expecting him to light up the scoreboard with his running and kick-returning ability. However, they severely underestimated the might and power of the Cardinals. The Redbirds had beaten the Bears earlier in the season, 9-0, off three Driscoll field goals, and came into the game with an impressive 8-1 record. Meanwhile, the Bears were also playing well, posting a 6-2-2 mark, and with the acquisition of superstar Red Grange, their future was looking even brighter.
- - - - - The Cards were up to the challenge and contained Grange during much of the afternoon, allowing him only 40 yards from scrimmage. But the Cardinal defense was not solely responsible for his containment: Paddy Driscoll deliberately punted away from Grange. On twenty-five punts, only three were returned by Grange; the remaining twenty-two were either kicked out-of-bounds or to Joe Sternaman. The strategy worked so well in the Cards' favor that the Bears faithful assembled in the stands roundly booed Driscoll.
- - - - - The Big-Red caused the "Galloping Ghost" to virtually disappear, and the game would end in a scoreless tie. Although Grange's debut was a bit of a disappointment, the Cardinal defense gave professional football some credibility. Meanwhile, the public was hooked on Grange and pro-football, as the Bears became the hottest ticket in the nation. The team would later schedule a post-season barnstorming tour throughout the country. So, the NFL gained respectability and popularity, the Bears gained a superstar, and the Cardinals survived a tough 0-0 battle on the way to greater glory. . .

NEXT : December 6, 1925 - The Cardinals' championship hopes appear to have been flushed down the toilet in a loss to Pottsville. . . or have they? The colorful Cardinals, Maroons, and Yellow Jackets, as well as the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame play important parts in the NFL's 1925 championship race.

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