Have you ever wondered what team you would be a fan of if the Arizona Cardinals did not exist? Would you still follow them if they were located elsewhere?
Well, let's think about this. What would have happened 94 years ago had the then-Racine Cardinals lost a game that, if legend is true, was for sole dominance over the city of Chicago?
There is one little known team that was one of the 14 teams to start the APFA (American Professional Football Association), which was eventually renamed the National Football League. The Chicago Tigers were a one-and-done team that folded during the 1920 and 1921 seasons.
The city of Chicago was housing two teams. Both had their own fields to play on, but they were fighting for the same fans. Add in the Decatur Staleys, who were planning on moving to Chicago the next season, and there would be three teams in one city fighting for fans. The Staleys wound up becoming today's Chicago Bears.
There are two legends surrounding the Chicago Tigers, one of which involves the Cardinals.
On October 3, 1920, the Racine Cardinals traveled to Cubs Park -- which is now known as Wrigley Field -- to take on the Chicago Tigers. Their season opener ended in a 0-0 tie.
Chris O'Brien, according to legend, would challenge Tigers' owner Guil Falcon for the right to represent Chicago in the AFPA. Whichever team lost would have to fold and set up shop elsewhere.
The duel would take place in their Week 7 match up. Again the Cardinals traveled to Cubs Park and fell behind 3-0 early on. However, the only touchdown of the day came from Hall of Fame quarterback Paddy Driscoll on a 40-yard run. Driscoll also happened to be the coach as well.
Of course, this legend has many holes in it. The Staleys came to Chicago the following season and the Tigers were never an official member of the APFA despite having paid the $100 entrance fee to the league -- they were still considered an independent team.
However, if the legend is true what would have happened had the Cardinals lost? Would the Tigers have wound up folding like so many teams did? Would Bill O'Brien have moved his team to St. Louis?
One can only guess, but fans can be happy knowing that the Cardinals came out on top in that game and have survived while so many others fell apart.
Legend courtesy of Pro Football Hall of Fame
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