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2015 NFL Countdown: The History of Arizona Cardinals Jersey Number 82

Today's number hasn't exactly been kind to the Cardinals in their history — in the case of eligible receivers that is. Amazingly, defensive ends and long-snappers have fared better wearing No. 82.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Not an impressive list of those Cardinals who've worn today's No. 82 that have considered themselves eligible receivers.  But the truth can be stranger than fiction sometimes because it's a toss up between three positions on who will come out on top in today's poll where you vote on who you think has worn the BIG EIGHT-TWO best.

We'll list all the players that have worn today's number chronologically making note of those players that mattered along the way while leaving plenty of space for your comments below to fill in the gaps.

The Chicago Years

John Goldsberry 1950 (DT-T)
Lou Ferry 1951(DT-T)
Tom Bienemann 1952-1956 (DE-E-LB)

The St. Louis years

Mike Melinkovich 1965-1966 (DE)
Joe Schmiesing 1968-1971 (DE-DT)

Earl Thomas only played two seasons for the Big Red in St. Louis but was another one of those key players for the team that first became known as the Cardiac Cards. Thomas contributed with 55 receptions for 888 yards and 7 touchdowns in 1974-1975 when the Cardinals went 21-7 combined. All cylinders were working on offense for the Cardinals who won 7 games in the last minute of play in 1975.

Bob Pollard (1978-1981) was very possibly the last defense end to wear a jersey numbered in the 80's in the National Football League.  He would have never been allowed to wear today's number by the time he came to the Cardinals had he not he played the position at the start of his career wearing No. 82 for the New Orleans Saints in 1971.

Unfortunately, don't have records for sacks or tackles going back to when Pollard played, but amazingly we have yet another defensive end ranked as best Cardinal to wear his jersey number in the 80's by Pro Football Reference (not bad for an 11th round draft pick).  Bob Pollard started 62 consectutive games in four seasons under the arch.

Ricky Thompson 1982
Steve Bird 1983-1984

Tight end Doug Marsh (1985-1986) wore No. 82 for two seasons after wearing No. 87 for his first two seasons followed by No. 80 for three seasons!  Identity crisis perhaps?  Regardless, Doug Marsh racked up 167 receptions for 2,140 yards and 19 touchdowns wearing the three jersey's combined.

Ron Brown 1987

The Phoenix years

Greg Baty 1988
Darryl Usher 1989
Phil McConkey 1989
Butch Rolle 1992-1993

The Arizona years

Patrick Robinson 1994
Stevie Anderson 1996
Kevin Williams 1997
Ronnie Anderson 1998
Mac Cody 1999-2000

MarTay Jenkins (2001-2002) wore No. 19 in 1999-2000  and snagged 70 receptions for 987 yards and 4 touchdowns combined in his four seasons at Sun Devil Stadium wearing both jerseys.

Kevin Kasper 2003
Lorenzo Diamond 2004
J.J. Moses 2005
Charles Lee 2005
Leonard Pope 2006-2008 (48 receptions, 476 yards, 5 touchdowns)

And now for the fellow that has owned the BIG EIGHT-TWO for some time now and sees the world upside-down.

Mike Leach goes into his 7th year as the Cardinals long-snapper and rumor has it that he was allowed to wear a jersey number in 80's is because he was also listed as a tight-end.  There is no evidence that Mike Leach has ever lined up as a tight end in the National Football League. Mike enters his 16th season (7th as a Cardinal) with 219 career games accredited on his NFL permanent record.

They say that there's always a lull before the storm, so consider today the lull before tomorrow's perfect storm when we tackle No. 81 most likely the best-ever for the Cardinals.

For a listing of the entire collection of stories in the Countdown to the Season series, all you have to do is click here.