How far back can we trace the history between the Cardinals and the Rams? Quite a ways actually, to October 3, 1937, when the Chicago Cardinals defeated the Cleveland Rams 6-0 in a real barn burner. The Big Red won the first four games of the all-time series that now finds the teams tied at 35-35 with two memorable ties thrown in just for fun.
And of course the Rams and the Cardinals have a connection that first became possible when Violet Bidwill moved the oldest professional football franchise in 1960 that became the St. Louis Football Cardinals (don't miss the jaw-dropping Terry Metcalf highlight video).
Although no championships came in St. Louis (that hasn't happened since the '47 Chicago Cardinals), the team gave many a thrill and over a 3 year span ('74-'76), the Cardinals compiled a 31-11 record while establishing a trend that showed itself once again ...
... on a dark, drizzly day at the L.A. Colosseum in 1976, when true to their name, the Cardiac Cardinals who trailed 21-6 in the second half, methodically went about their business (as if it was scripted) to claim a 30-28 victory with a Jim Bakken field goal at the buzzer over the Los Angeles Rams. This game also saw Merlin Olsen (Father Murphy) walk into the Cardinals huddle, wave his finger and say bad things to Conrad Dobler, then walk off the field never to return. Why do I remember this Cardinals/Rams game? I was there.
The teams have met in the postseason (a game in '75 that we're not going to talk about), and three Hall of Fame inductees played for both teams in the past -- Dick 'Night Train' Lane, Ollie Matson and Aeneas Williams. Another former player expected to join that list would be Kurt Warner.
Other players that donned both Cardinals and Rams uniforms include Ron Wolfley, Ernie Jones, Eric Hill, Kwamie Lassiter, Corey Chavous, and Chris Chandler. The only current connection between the team is Rams assistant head coach Dave McGinnis -- former Arizona Cardinals head coach from 2001-'03.
Memorable moments in the history of the series
* On a brisk 15º day at Busch Stadium December 1972, Jim Hart (the Cardinals all-time leading passer) ties the longest pass play in franchise history with a 98-yard strike to Ahmad Rashad (then known as Bobby Moore) in the 24-14 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. This play remains the longest non-scoring pass play in the history of the NFL.
* In the first season of a team known as the Phoenix Cardinals (1988), Neil Lomax passes for 342 yards as the Big Red accumulate 519 total yards and 30 first downs against the Los Angeles Rams. Touchdown receptions by Roy 'Jet Stream' Green and Jay Novacek, in addition to TD runs by Earl Ferrell and Stump Mitchell added up to a 41-28 victory in L.A. Lomax is named Offensive Player of the Week in the NFL.
* Ronald Moore rushes for 126 yards and four touchdowns in the team's last season known as the Phoenix Cardinals and becomes the Offensive Player of the Week. Steve Beuerlein also adds a touchdown pass to Gary Clark (8 catches for 159 yards) in the 38-10 victory at Sun Devil Stadium in '93.
* Kent Graham passes for 366 yards in the Arizona Cardinals come-from-behind overtime 31-28 victory in Tempe in 1996. Thirteen of Graham's 37 completions were to Larry Centers for 83 yards and a touchdown. Three other Cardinals recievers scored that day; Rob Moore (9 catches for 143 yards), Leshon Johnson and Frank Sanders.
* In the first quarter of the season opener of his rookie year (2013), Tyrann Mathieu chases down Rams TE Jared Cook after a long pass play and knocks the ball loose from behind just as Cook was about to cross the goal line in St. Louis. This game is also notable for when Bruce Arians first realized that Levi Brown 2013 wasn't so elite after all.
* Carson Palmer completes 27 of 32 passes (84.4%) for 269 yards and a touchdown in week 14 of the 2013 season in Glendale. The 84.4 completion percentage was the second-best single-game completion percentage in franchise history (only Kurt Warner's NFL-record of 92.3% at Jacksonville in 2009 ranks higher). John Abraham records three sacks as the Cardinals win 30-10.
Bonus fun facts
* St. Louis was where this guy played: The Greatest Cardinal Ever
* The Arizona Cardinals are older than the state of Arizona.
* The Big Red's 10-4 record in a 14 game season in 1976 only earns 3rd place in the NFC East as the Cardinals fail to make the playoffs.
* Eight consecutive years (1966-'73) saw a tie on the St. Louis Cardinals' record. In the history of the franchise, 39 ties ranks second in the history of the NFL.
* Larry Fitzgerald's 131 career receptions, 1601 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns against Rams are more than any other active player against an individual opponent.
The Big Red return to their old haunts in St. Louis this Thursday night in a rematch of a game that saw the Cardinals victorious just four weeks ago. Fitz led the way with nine catches for 112 yards and huge plays by John Brown (48-yard go-ahead touchdown reception), Patrick Peterson (first-ever pick-six) and Antonio Cromartie (14-yard fumble return touchdown) sealed the deal in the Cardinals' 31-14 win in Glendale to tie all-time series.
It's time yet again to snap on the chin-straps for a Cardinals/Rams matchup to see who takes the lead.
For those interested in a listing of how (and when) the 32 current NFL teams came to be, visit NFL Team History