Old rivals, lesser known.


Sep 4, 2008
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Sunday's game between the Packers and Cardinals brings together the oldest pro football franchise still playing in its original location and identity since 1919 and the oldest continuously run pro football club, established in 1898. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Cardinals.

This week's game will be the 75th meeting all-time between these two franchises. The Packers have played only the Bears, Lions, Vikings and Rams more times than they have the Cardinals.http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/game_query.cgi?tm1=gnb&tm2=crd&yr=all.

Way, way back the Pack and Cards used to square off against each other twice each season, when both were members of the National Football League's Western Conference. Meetings became less frequent after the Cardinals move the Eastern Conference, the National Football Conference East and eventually the NFC West. There have been only 15 Packers-Cardinals games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970; an average of once every 3 years.

The Cardinals have not only moved around within the NFL alignment but between locations as well. They've been the Chicago Cardinals, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phoenix Cardinals before the Arizona Cardinals. And until they got their new state of the art stadium in Glendale, AZ there was talk of them moving to Los Angeles or back to St.Louis, if the Rams should return to LA.

Despite their longevity the Cardinals have nowhere near the identity or fan following of other clubs of such long history. Even playing an historically great season this year their head coach worried about Packers fans taking over the University of Phoenix stadium this Sunday. The multiple franchise moves have certainly played a role in the Cardinals not having the kind of flagship NFL identity of the Packers, Bears, Giants, Cowboys and a few others.

So, too, is their 67 year absence of an NFL world championship. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/sports/football/15cardinals.html?_r=0. The closest the Cards have come since 1948 was their close loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl 7 years ago. http://www.nfl.com/videos/pittsburg...00498/NFL-GameDay-Super-Bowl-XLIII-highlights.

The Packers and Cardinals have faced each other twice in playoff competition; with each winning on its home field and producing exciting offensive shows.

In 1982 the Packers beat the Cardinals 41-16 at Lambeau Field even though the then St. Louis Cardinals outgained them 347-286. http://www.packershistory.net/1982PACKERS/PLAYOFFS1STROUND.html.

The 2009 Wild Card playoff between the two set new NFL playoff scoring and yardage records. http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d815a5f0c/Cardinals-Packers-highlights.

There was a third "postseason" game between the Packers and Cardinals in 1964. But it had nothing to do with winning a championship. During the 1960's the NFL had an exhibition game called the Playoff Bowl that was played between the two second place teams in its conferences. In '64 those were Green Bay and St.Louis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playoff_Bowl. The Packers had their poorest season under Vince Lombardi even though they had a winning record. But they were a distant second for the second straight season in the Western Conference. And that infuriated Lombardi, who only considered first the place worth being. Consequently he didn't push his team with his usual drive and they lost to the Cardinals 24-17.

A midseason meeting on a Monday night in 1967 was a pivotal game in the Packers drive for a third consecutive NFL world championship that season. http://www.packershistory.net/1967PACKERS/GAME7.html

In 1969 the Packers closed out the season at Lambeau against the Cardinals in a game that had fans hoping the Pack might be back sooner than later. http://www.packershistory.net/1969PACKERS/GAME14.html. But, of course, it didn't work out that way. After his career day in that game Don Horn would wind up being one of the biggest first round qb draft busts in Packers' and NFL history.

Thirty years later the Packers had another Lambeau season finale against the Cardinals with high stakes results. The Packers needed to win, outscore Carolina and hope for the Giants to beat Dallas to make the playoffs for a seventh straight season under first- and one- year hc Ray Rhodes. As every one remembers it didn't quite work out all the way for the Packers but they did win the game over the Cardinals.
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It may not have the history of the Packers and the Bears but games between the Packers and Cardinals have usually been interesting affairs, to say the least.
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Fiber deprived old guy.
Dec 10, 2004
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Oshkosh, WI
I really appreciate your historical posts, Lifer. It is easy to forget about the Cards....

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