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Arizona Cardinals history: Josh McCown and Nate Poole end season with amazing, but silly win

Winning the game took away the first pick in the draft that year

I was watching some completely unrelated videos on YouTube, when one of the suggestions had Arizona Cardinals uniforms. Lo and behold, it was about the last second win that Josh McCown and Nate Poole pulled out as time expired in Week 17 of the 2003 season.

Down five points with under two minutes left in the game, Damien Anderson (now working in the front office for the team) recovered the onside kick. Bryant Johnson drew a 30 yard pass interference penalty and a few plays later, including after a sack and a fumble recovered by the Cards, on fourth down and with the clock running, McCown hit Poole in the corner of the end zone. He only got one foot down, but he was pushed out by the Vikings defender.

Back in that time, the refs could rule it a reception if they felt, were he not forced out by the defender, that the receiver would have gotten both feet down. (By the way, it makes so much more sense to have the rule as it is now -- you simply have to get both feet down.)

Cardinals win, ending their season at 3-13. The win knocked the Vikings from a postseason berth, too, giving the NFC North title to Brett Favre and the Green bay Packers.

However, there was one thing about the win -- had the Cards lost, they would have had the number one pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. They ended with the third pick.

It turned out to be a pretty good player still (it was the year they took Larry Fitzgerald with the third pick overall), but how different would the franchise have been had they had the first pick.

That year they hired Denny Green and Eli Manning was taken first overall. Perhaps Manning still gets traded away to the Giants because Eli doesn't want to play for the Bidwill family, but in return the Cards could have had Philip Rivers.

Imagine having Green with Rivers and never having to draft Matt Leinart and have that mess. Of course, then Kurt Warner probably doesn't happen and Fitz lands elsewhere, but that would also have meant that Anquan Boldin would still probably be donning number 81 in red.

I know, it is useless to go 'what if,' but what a crazy end to the season that was in 2003.

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