The View From Wisconsin
Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
These have been mentioned elsewhere, but they're still interesting as we head into the MMIX edition of the NFL's championship game:
- During the last season played in World War II, the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers combined their squads to form a single entry in the NFL. The combined team was due to both the player shortage during the war and Steelers owner Art Rooney's financial issues at the time. The Steelers had merged with their cross-state rivals in Philadelphia the previous season, but the Eagles severed the merger. This new combined team played their home games in Pittsburgh's Forbes Field and in Chicago's Comiskey Park. The team, informally known as "Card-Pitt", lost all 10 games on their schedule that year. They were derisively known as the "Carpets", because they let everyone walk all over them. The two teams went back to playing in their own cities the following year.
- In 1947, three years after they had temporarily merged with the Steelers, the Chicago Cardinals won their first official NFL title, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles, 28-21. Though the two teams met the next year in a rematch (with the Eagles taking their first NFL title, 7-0), the Cardinals would never play in another NFL title game until this season. It was also their last title match in Chicago, as they would play their final game at Comiskey Park in 1959 (losing to the cross-town Bears, 31-7). The final game the Cards played in 1959 before they moved to Saint Louis was on December 13, when they lost their season finale, 35-20, to… the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cardinals have gone the longest without winning the NFL title, marking their 61st season since their last title. The Lions are next at 51 years (their last title was in 1957).
- The following year in 1960, the NFL expanded to Dallas. The new Cowboys franchise was started in direct response to the new AFL started by Lamar Hunt, who also had a franchise in Dallas (the Texans; the team would eventually become the Kansas City Chiefs). At the time the Cowboys were added to the 13-team league, there were only two other teams that had never played in the NFL title game – the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Oddly enough, all three teams have won five Super Bowls each since the AFL-NFL merger.
- 26 of the NFL's current 32 member teams have played in a previous Super Bowl. The Cardinals will be the 27th team. The other five teams to never play in a Super Bowl: the Detroit Lions, the Cleveland Browns, the New Orleans Saints, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Houston Texans. Of the five teams, the Texans have never played in a playoff game.
- Teams playing their first time in the Super Bowl have not done well. There have been 18 times where one of the two teams was playing in its first Super Bowl, not counting the first game and the three games where both teams were first-timers. In those 18 games, the first-time team lost 14 times. The four first-time winners were the Steelers, the 49ers, the Ravens and the Buccaneers.
- The last time both teams were making their franchise Super Bowl debuts was in Super Bowl XX, whe the Bears defeated the Patriots, 46-10.
- The San Francisco 49ers are the only NFL team to be undefeated in multiple Super Bowl appearances. They won their fifth Super Bowl in 1995 over the San Diego Chargers. The following year, the Dallas Cowboys won their fifth over the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, in their eighth Super Bowl appearance – all since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
- The Steelers are the first of the three five-win teams to go for their sixth Super Bowl win. The win would also give them their 14th win in a conference or league championship game, one more than the Cowboys (13-11) and the Packers (13-5).
- A win by the Cardinals in the Super Bowl would double the total number of playoff wins by the team in the previous 60 seasons with their three wins this year.The Cardinals have won four of their five playoff games since moving to Arizona in 1988 - though they were only in two seasons (1998 and this year).
- There has been only one quarterback in the history of the Super Bowl to start two different games with different teams. That was Craig Morton, who lost Super Bowl V with the Cowboys (literally – he threw an interception in the closing minutes of the game to put the Colts into field goal range) and Super Bowl XII with the Broncos. Strangely enough, the Broncos were making their first appearance in the Super Bowl in that second game – just as the Cardinals are under Kurt Warner.