More and more fans have 'come out of the closet' and confessed to having great memories of the St. Louis Football Cardinals. I've long since moved to Arizona myself (before the Cardinals), but can't help from staying connected with the teams I grew up with.
For those without memories of those days gone by, I still hope that many will take a few minutes to enjoy the history of your team (it's not all bad you know), there's some great stuff here.
And for those who aren't so sure, at the very least I dare you to watch the Terry Metcalf video! Any fan who loves football and who loves the Cardinals that doesn't enjoy the video below needs to call 911 immediately!
While it's true the St. Louis years (1960-1987) can hardly be called a 'great success', there was no shortage of great players, great games and even a few great seasons.
To get things started I put a few together a few topics - then feel free to 'talk amongst yourselves'.
The 60's (All about Defense)
It's always been difficult to describe just how aggressive the Cardinals defense of the 60's actually was. Led of course by the 'innovator of the safety blitz' (Larry Wilson), the crazy stunts and the intense pressure the Cardinals applied was remarkable by today's standards. The chaotic pre-snap line shifts were reminiscent of 'Chinese Fire Drills', and while the generic pass rush of 6 was more often embellished to 7, they didn't shy away from sending 8 pass-rushers (seriously).
Wilson on lining up on the line of scrimmage: "It was amazing to look at the quarterback's faces - and you can make a quarterback stutter up there for sure. I remember John Brodie, he'd wink at you because he knew we had him".
The Big Red's motto was to play the game in your opponent's backfield and further evidence of this outstanding defense can be found in the movie "Paper Lion' (1968), where the Cardinals defense is featured up close and personal (in all its frenzy), it's a great watch. For more on Larry Wilson, click this link: The Greatest Cardinal Ever
And to cap it off, the 1970 Cardinals set the modern day NFL record with three consecutive shutouts!!!
The 70's (All about Offense)
The 'Air Coryell' offense in the mid-70's inspired the term 'Cardiac Cards' because of their uncanny habit of coming back to win games at the buzzer - and when I learned to never give up hope when it comes to the Big Red. In 1975 the Cardinals won seven times in the last minute of play on their way to an 11-3 record.
But not only could the Cardinals move the ball through the air, they could also run with equally explosive results. The Cardinals success was all built on a foundation of what many consider the best offensive line in league history.
'These guys' allowed an all-time NFL record low of 8 sacks during the 1975 season protecting a very immobile Jim Hart (Cardinals all-time passing leader who when he retired was the 3rd leading passer in NFL history). Hart's favorite target was the great Cardinals speedster Mel Gray (6th round draft pick, 45 TD's).
When it came to run blocking, the 'Big Red Line' cleared the way for Terry Metcalf and Jim Otis to rush for 168 yards per game during 1975-76, en-route to records of 11-3 (division title) and 10-4 (with no playoff berth - the crime of the century!).
The Cardinals 31-11 overall record during 1974-76, was mighty impressive as well and gave the fans so many reasons to coin the name 'Cardiac Cards'. There's not enough room to list all the miraculous last minute comeback victories - and you might not believe many of them anyways.
Press 'Play' to see what happens when you combine great blockers with an explosive ball-carrier.
The 80's (some great players)
Tough years, but still great memories with many great players.
What I wouldn't give for another Ottis Anderson - a big bruiser, yet a speedy running back with great moves to boot. His 193 rushing yards in his NFL debut and the 100 yards per game that season was mighty impressive. Too bad he was traded to the Giants (which ticks me off to this day), but not before becoming the Cardinals all-time leading rusher.
How about the game against Dallas in 1981 when #25 unexpectedly ran into the offense huddle. The Cowboys couldn't figure out what was up with a defensive back being there until a few seconds and 60 yards later - and thus was born Roy 'Jet Stream' Green (66 TD's). Roy continued the season as a two-way player - the following week recording a touchdown reception and then the game clinching interception against the Redskins.
The quarterback that tossed Green's first pass reception was none other than Neil Lomax in his first NFL start. To me, the most devastating injury in my years as a Cardinals fan was the career-ending hip injury of Lomax. The man could really throw the football and 'Lomax to Green' was a thing of beauty while it lasted (48 TD's).
St. Louis Uniforms
The first year in St. Louis the team introduced the Cardinal logo on the helmet and I always dug the pattern of the stripes. The addition of the Cardinal logo on the sleeves in the 80's was a great finishing touch - I still have my Neil Lomax #15 jersey.
By the way, the logo at the top of 'Big Red' was the team's alternate logo in the St. Louis years. I would love to see him return - modernized and with a different background (of course) .
Biggest shame - Too bad the 60's defense and the 70's offense didn't play together, what could have been ,,,
Do you have memories of the St. Louis Football Cardinals? Got stories? Got pics? Got Recs?