The long and storied history of the Green Bay Packers in the NFL started in 1921. Guess which current NFL team the Packers played first, when the Pack got their start in the American Professional Football Association (which became the National Football League in 1922) that season?
The Chicago Bears? Nope. They weren't even Da Bears in 1921. They were the Staleys.
No, the Packers played the Cardinals first, although the team was based in Chicago then. The two teams played to a 3-3 tie in Chicago.
The Packers and Cardinals have played 69 times in the regular season, with the Packers holding the edge at 43-22-4. The two teams have also played twice in the postseason. More on that later.
The Cardinals have long been owned (since 1933) by the Bidwell family. The team has been in three locations, Chicago (until 1960), St. Louis (until 1988) and now Arizona. The team was called the Phoenix Cardinals from 1988-1993.
The Cardinals have only won two NFL championships, one in 1925 and their last in 1947.
They were a talented team in the late 1940s, and when Curly Lambeau left the Packers to coach the Cardinals in 1950, it caused quite an uproar in Green Bay.
Lambeau, one of the original founders of the Packers and their only head coach, lost a power struggle to the executive committee of the Packers and left to go south to Chicago. That didn't sit well with many fans of the Packers.
However, Lambeau only coached two years in Chicago, and his teams were only a combined 7-15.
Lambeau finished his coaching career in Washington, just as Vince Lombardi did, and Lambeau was only 10-13-1 with the Redskins in two years there.
It was a tough way for Lambeau to finish his coaching career, especially after going 209-104-13 with the Packers as a head coach, a run which included six NFL championships.
Lambeau also played nine years with the Packers (1921-1929) and scored 110 points in those years, throwing 24 touchdown passes.
Back to the Packers and Cardinals now.
The Packers and Cardinals have had two memorable postseason games in their history.
The first occurred in the 1982 postseason, which happened to come after a strike-shortened season. The Packers made the playoffs for the first time since the 1972 season and were going to be hosting their first postseason game at Lambeau Field since the legendary Ice Bowl in 1967.
Green Bay, behind quarterback Lynn Dickey, whipped the Cardinals (then from St. Louis), 41-16. Dickey threw four touchdown passes in the game as the Packers dominated.
But the Wild Card Round game between the Packers and Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium after the 2009 season was truly memorable. It turned out to be the highest-scoring postseason game in NFL history, for one thing.
The Cardinals, behind quarterback Kurt Warner, dominated early, as they built a three-touchdown lead on the Packers. But quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the Packers back to force overtime, as the score stood at 45-45.
Overall in the game, Rodgers was 28-of-42 for 422 yards, four touchdowns and a 121.3 QB rating. All but two of Rodgers' yards came after the first quarter. Rodgers also scored a touchdown on a QB sneak.
In overtime, the Packers got the ball first, and Rodgers just missed Greg Jennings on a deep post which would have won the game.
On the final play of the game, Rodgers was hit by cornerback Michael Adams on a blitz, and he fumble-kicked the ball to Karlos Dansby, who caught the ball without it ever touching the ground and scored from 17 yards out to end the game, 51-45.
However, the refs obviously missed a call. As Rodgers was hit by Adams, he was grabbed by the facemask and taken to the ground. That should have been another clear personal foul. But the refs didn’t make the call, and Dansby’s touchdown stood.
In terms of the regular season, the Cardinals have rarely visited Lambeau Field in recent history. Only three times in the last 18 years, as a matter of fact.
The last time the Cardinals visited Lambeau (2006), the Packers won, 31-14. That game also brought us the one and only time quarterback Brett Favre did a Lambeau-leap.
Expect some other interesting things to take place this Sunday at Lambeau Field, when the Cardinals and Packers play for the 70th time in the regular season.
For one thing, more stellar quarterback play by Rodgers. Rodgers and the Packers have not played the Cardinals since that painful playoff loss after the 2009 season, and I expect him to continue the fantastic play he has exhibited the past three weeks (all victories), as he has thrown 11 touchdown passes, without one interception.
Expect more of the same on Sunday afternoon.
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