The NFL Cardinals are not strangers to playing football on Thanksgiving Day, as this Thursday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles marks the 23rd time they have played on Turkey Day. The majority of those games happened in the days of sweaters and leather helmets as the Chicago Cardinals played cross-town rivals Chicago Bears for twelve consecutive seasons from 1922 through 1933. The first game went to the Cardinals in a 6-0 decision, but victories were scarce thereafter, as the Cardinals finished 4-8-2 against the Bears. In 1934 and '35, the Cardinals beat the Packers twice before the Detroit Lions usurped the Cardinals as the new Thanksgiving tradition. Aside from a three-year stretch during the Hart-led Cardinals of the mid-Seventies (Bills in '75, Cowboys '76, Dolphins '77), the Cardinals played infrequently on Thanksgiving, matching up against the Lions ('48, Cardinals' last victory, 28-14), Steelers ('50), and Cowboys ('67, '83, and '85). Overall, the Cardinals record on Thanksgiving Day reflects the franchise's historical trend at 7-13-2 (0.364).
The Philadelphia Eagles have a limited Thanksgiving tradition, having played played consecutive years against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1939 and '40, splitting those games. Since then the Eagles have played twice more, a victory against Detroit in 1968 and beating the 1989 Cowboys team.
This Thursday's game against the Eagles (NFL Network) is another opportunity for the Cardinals to "bust" some old ghosts, this one being a 60-year victory drought on Thanksgiving.
There's plenty of "drama" leading up to this game between the two teams. Aside from an old rivalry that became very bitter with the 1947 and '48 NFL Championship Games, these old divisional rivals have the '08 Playoffs to contend for. Though the Cardinals are all but assured of hosting their first home playoff game in 61 years, they have to prove to themselves that they can win in an outdoor stadium on the East Coast on a very short preparation week. The Eagles need to figure out if they can salvage this season with Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb leading the team. Feel free to discuss the Cardinals' Thanksgiving tradition here and the upcoming Eagles game. More Cards/Eagles news to follow soon.