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Born in 1920 as the Chicago Cardinals, this is the oldest professional football franchise in the USA. Many changes have taken place over the years including a merger with the Steelers for one season in 1944, a move to St. Louis, then to Arizona, first going by the name the Phoenix Cardinals before finally settling on its most recent moniker of the Arizona Cardinals in 1994. However, the one thing that has eluded this franchise in all of this time has been a Super Bowl championship. Winners of two pre-Super Bowl era championships (in 1925 and 1947), Cardinals fans are desperate to reach that highest plateau.
Many players have worn the Cardinals red uniform, but one name rises above all others as an example of the courage and sacrifice necessary to become a legend. A 7th round pick in 1998 out of Arizona State, Pat Tillman made the Cardinals roster at the safety position. Despite his low draft position, Tillman flourished in the NFL reaching the NFL All-Pro team in 2000. Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Tillman left football to enlist in the US Army. He gave his life for his country in 2004. An inspiration across the league, Tillman jerseys are still found at the University of Phoenix stadium in abundance on game day.
There are many other fan favorites in Arizona. Adrian Wilson, the strong safety out of NC State reached the Pro Bowl five times. Kurt Warner’s story took him from stocking shelves in a grocery store to Super Bowl champion with the St. Louis Rams. He joined the Cardinals roster in 2005 as a veteran quarterback looking to mentor. He ended up winning the starting role and leading the team for five years, culminating in another Super Bowl appearance. Larry Fitzgerald, the son of a Minnesota sports reporter, had the good fortune to be surrounded by Hall of Fame wide receiver talent at an early age. Fitzgerald used this to his advantage on his way to become one of the most productive wide receivers in NFL history. Among his many accolades are 10 Pro Bowl selections.
Today’s team is led by Carson Palmer, the one-time Cincinnati Bengal has resurrected his career in the Arizona desert with the Cardinals. His weapons in this offense include Jermaine Gresham, John Brown, and the legendary Larry Fitzgerald. David Johnson, the rookie third round running back, has been an absolute monster for this club, adding another dimension of danger when they have the ball.
The defensive side of the ball contains threats with Karlos Dansby returning for a third stint in Arizona and LB Haason Reddick joining the team via the NFL draft. Patrick Peterson and Tyron Mathieu are a dominating backfield tandem, posing a major threat once the ball is in the air. Arizona’s defense should never be underestimated.
Head Coach Bruce Arians is certainly disappointed with the fact that the Cardinals did not make the playoffs this past year. This squad has been thought of as a Super Bowl contender for the past few years so falling short of a playoff berth will surely cause an uproar in the locker room as well as in the front office. Click here to learn more about the Arizona Cardinals.