We don't know much about the game played on October 5th, 1930 between the Chicago Cardinals and the Portsmouth Spartans other than the attendance of 6,500 and that the game ended in a well-earned 0-0 tie. But it marked the first game of what would become a long history between the two franchises that sees the Lions leading the all-time series 31-26-5 (despite the fact that the Cardinals have won 10 of the last 13 meetings).
Four years after that 0-0 thriller in Ohio, the Spartans moved to Detroit, became the Lions then won their first NFL Championship one year later in 1935 (back in the days when the only postseason game was the NFL Championship). The Detroit Lions also added 3 more titles in the 1950's (their last being in 1957).
The two teams have never met in the postseason, but there were several players of note that played on both teams that includes one the best players in the history of the league (with one of the best nicknames). Dick 'Night Train' Lane still holds the record for most interceptions in a season at 14 -- in a 12-game season no less -- and spent six years terrorizing wide receivers for both the Cardinals and then the Lions before retiring to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In a twist of fate, the player the Cardinals first tried as a replacement to Night Train was a seventh-round rookie running back who didn't figure to have much of a chance making the roster on offense. When the experiment at cornerback failed, the team then decided to try Larry 'Wildcat' Wilson at free safety, and the rest is history. Lane and Wilson were later both elected as members of the elite NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
The most important player to have played on both teams right now of course would be Drew Stanton, who has completed a mere 150 passes in his six-year NFL career -- which can happen when you have the distinction of being on the same roster as three No. 1 overall draft picks (Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer).
The Cardinals record of 8-1 represents the franchise's best start since the 1948 defending champion Chicago Cardinals (who finished at 11-1), while Detroit's 7-2 record is their best start since 1993 -- the last time the Lions won in the Grand Canyon State (against a team then known as the Phoenix Cardinals). Since then, the Lions have lost all seven of their visits to the Valley while compiling a 3-10 record overall against the Arizona Cardinals.
This Sunday we snap on the chin-straps for yet another Cardinals/Lions matchup in beautiful Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals have won five in a row against the Lions where four of the five have been played at University of Phoenix Stadium, and by a quirk of scheduling once again they play the Lions on home turf on wheels.
In a nutshell, the Cardinals are on a roll against the Lions in the desert (but this year will be no easy task) and this is one case where we hope for history to repeat itself.