Cardinal's History Repeats Itself
I saw a Bleacher Report article about some 'What If's' since the team has been in Arizona. It got me to thinking of similar 'almost's' going further back. These were particularly painful 'near-misses' like we are struggling thru now. I am referring to the teams of 1964,1976 and 1984 which missed the postseason by slim margins and left us fans disappointed a lost opportunity.
The '64 club under Wally Lemm was a championship caliber offense competing with some powerful rivals in the Eastern Division when to make the playoffs meant winning the division and your next game was the Championship Game. They had what was called the 'Non-Advancing Bowl' played in Miami then between the two second-place finishers. We played in that game in early January and the country was treated to us,probably in our first national TV broadcast, defeating Lombardi's Packers who had finished behind the Baltimore Colts. We had played Cleveland to a 33-33 tie on the road that year and defeated them later on to keep our division title hopes alive. But,the Giants battled us to a second tie that year and we finished a half-game behind the Brownies who went on to win the title. We had a great team that year with a great O-line, Charley Johnson throwing to Jackie Smith, Bobby Joe Conrad and Sonny Randle and Jim Bakken handling the kicking. That victory over Lombardi was only his second and last postseason loss of his Green Bay tenure but we could not continue that success the next year while suffering too many key injuries.
After consecutive division titles the '76 season saw us gunning for a third and we did finish 10-6. But,we had to settle for being a co-division winner along with Washington. We lost out on making the postseason because the George Allen led "Over the Hill Gang" Redskins beat us twice that year. We had a disappointing game in Washington and suffered thru the Redskin defense smothering our dynamic offense under Don Coryell in the rematch. We lost the following week in Dallas,too. With the final two games at home we upset the Bert Jones led Colts in a Saturday game on national TV when Ted Marchibroda had Lydell Mitchell to terrorize defenses. We finished off the Giants in the finale but with the Cowboys having already clinched the postseason they fell to Washington in Dallas allowing the Redskins to claim the divisional playoff berth. That was a tough one to swallow and led to Cardinal fans despising the Cowpokes even more since they put out a lackluster effort with Washington. The wheels came off Coryell's team the next year and us long-time fans know what happened after that.
Following a playoff appearance with the '83 strike year team,Jim Hanifan had the Cardinals poised to show it was no fluke in '84. But a 9-7 finish was still not good enough and in a winner-take-all season finale in Washington for the division title we fell just short. Having fallen way behind at halfime, Neil Lomax brought us almost all the way back when time ran out on us in a 27-29 defeat. The thing I most remember about that season was how No.15 set a then NFL passing yardage mark. I think Roy "Jetstream"Green set a Cardinal receiving mark,too. And,again the team fell on hard times for a few years.
Yea,our Cardinals can give us fans a painful offseason like the one we are enduring now. It will hurt for awhile and I can only advise to keep that Kentucky bourbon handy when you can't stop thinking about how close we came this year. Just look forward to the FA period and the yada-yada of the draft talk and take solace in Coach Arians and GM Steave Keim in being able to pull a second rabbitt out of next season's hat. This team may not be as far away as pundit's say. Maybe the Seahawks and 49'ers will cancell each other out and allow us to do an 'end around' to the division title. And,we had better prepare for that pirate of a DC,Greg Williams, who Jeff Fisher just hired. He's the rat who coached his defense to play outside the rules and put the hurt on Kurt Warner in his last NFL game. Don't be surprised if the Ram rivalry heats up this coming season.
Anyway, I'll raise a glass to those team's of yesteryear who battled hard but came up short. But, boy, were they entertaining!
Paragraph breaks, if you'd like anyone to read.
I have only been a fan for 9 years that was a great read. Is Greg Williams the bounty gate coach? Anyway I did not know most of that. I think the Cardinals have built a great start to a strong team and a mean a team not just a comeback QB and afew stars. I like what I see coming it looks like good times for Cardinal fans.
Originally Posted by Tom Slick
That 84 season was tough to swallow. We went ahead 27-26 after losing 23-7 at half. Lomax and Green were unstoppable in the 2nd half but were undone by Leonard Smith who had 2 personal fouls on the the Redskins winning drive. We still had a chance as Lomax drove us into long field goal range and Neil O'Donaghue(sp??) missed what would have been a 50 yarder to win. Still breaks my heart thinking about.
Of course there were other losses that year that cost us as well. Probably the biggest was the loss to the Rams where a bomb to Roy Green was negated due to offensive PI, which I still say is one of the worst calls I have ever witnessed. The 3 game skid in Nov killed us.
What many may not remember we were the odds on favorite to represent the NFC in the SB 1985. I still remember reading the Football Digest prediction that had us playing the Dolphins the SB and getting chills. We started out 3-1 and the wheels fell off and finished 5-11. Lomax was hit too much and struggled, an aging Ottis Anderson was hurt and our defense couldn't stop anyone. I think that year more than anything else is what drove the Cards out of St. Louis. Fans had had enough. That was a tough year.
It's always tough just missing the playoffs. Great rookie season for your head coach though. 10-6 usually gets you in but the NFC West is a top heavy division. All division games are going to be brutal.