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 16, 1970: Texas Massacre

- - - - - Defining events in the history of professional football seem to have an affinity for years ending in a zero. There was the founding of the National Football League in 1920; the rival American Football League took the field in 1960. Ten years later, another wave of long-standing and momentous changes swept the sport. Most important of these was the merging of the two major leagues: the old, established NFL and the upstart AFL. Although NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle had announced the merger four years earlier, the actual changes were not implemented until 1970.
- - - - - The 26 franchises now belonged to a single league (NFL), with 13 teams in two conferences (AFC and NFC). After much debate, realignment was carried out, resulting in the arrangement still in use today (with exceptions for expansion). The St. Louis Cardinals were moved out of the old Century Division and into the NFC Eastern Division with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins.
- - - - - After an opening day loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Cards got back on track, losing only one of their next ten games. In the midst of this tear, the Big-Red went on a three-game streak during which their opponents were held scoreless. Although shut-outs were not uncommon in the early days of pro football (the Cards twice went on 5-game stretches without giving up a single point in 1922-1923 and again in 1925-1926), holding three consecutive opponents scoreless in the modern NFL is quite a remarkable feat. Not surprisingly, the first two victims (Houston Oilers and Boston Patriots) were former AFL teams perhaps not yet up to the level of the established teams.
- - - - - However, the shocker came on November 16 when the Cardinals traveled down to Texas to meet the Dallas Cowboys. Although the Cards had played on Monday nights before (in fact, they have played regular season games on all seven days of the week), this was their first appearance on ABC's nationally televised Monday Night Football. The Cardinals, who had already beaten Dallas 20-7 earlier in the season, brought their "Big-D" and put on quite a show for those assembled in the Cotton Bowl and in front of their TV sets around the nation. The mighty Cowboys were beaten in every aspect of the game, and beaten badly. At one point, things got so bad for the home team, that the Dallas "faithful" began to chant "We want Meredith." At the time, the former Cowboy QB was an ABC commentator, and upon hearing the crowd, he admitted that he wanted no part of the massacre (several years earlier, these same "fans" had booed him off the field). When the dust finally settled, St. Louis headed home with a 38-0 victory, completing the season-series sweep.
- - - - - Unfortunately, though, Dallas would have the last laugh. Despite falling to 5-4 on the loss, the Cowboys rebounded, winning their remaining five games. Meanwhile, division-leading St. Louis and New York faded in December, allowing Dallas to sneak by and capture the first NFC East crown. In the playoffs, Dallas would defeat Detroit (5-0) and San Francisco (17-10) to advance to Super Bowl V. Although the Cardinals' season ended in bitter disappointment with three straight losses, they are one of only four teams to sweep an opponent that would later appear in the Super Bowl. The 1969 Raiders (over the Chiefs), the 1983 Seahawks (over the Raiders), and the 1995 Redskins (over the Cowboys) are the other three teams to bring out the brooms.

NEXT : December 27, 1975 - With heart-stopping heroics, coach Don Coryell and the "Cardiac Cards" capture the NFC East title and head to the playoffs. This would turn out to be the team's last non-strike post-season appearance to date.

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