I could go all the way back to the Chicago Cardinals but I think I’ll stick to the Don Coryell years of the St. Louis Cardinals. Don sure made a difference in St. Louis. His first year they were 3-9-1. After that they won the division twice over the Tom Landry-led Cowboys who were in their prime. What a beginning for the ex-Aztec coach.
After a dismal first year with the Cards, Coryell turned them around. With Jim Hart at QB, Terry Metcalfe at RB and Mel Gray at WR, this was the first 3-headed monster that I can remember. 20 years before the Cowboys “triplets”. Over the next three years, the “Cardiac Cards” would go 10-4, 11-3 and 10-4 again, barely missing the playoffs that last season. In ’74, five of their wins and three of their losses were by less than a touchdown. In ’74, eight wins and two losses by less than 7. No team was more fun to watch until Coryell came to San Diego to take over the team Tommy Prothro had drafted.
What Coryell had learned in St. Louis, he increased exponentially in San Diego. More fun than I could have imagined. All that was missing was that one trip to the Super Bowl. But as Pat who sat behind us would later say, given a choice between watching those great Dan Fouts-led teams and going to the big game, “I wouldn’t trade those days for anything!”.
To more recent times. The 2008 Arizona Cardinals became a Super bowl team just as my youngest son became interested in football. James liked Kurt Warner and became a fan. I’m sure it has something to do with stories my Dad told about becoming a New York baseball Giants fan when all around him were Cincnnati Reds fans because the Giants defeated the Senators in the ’33 World Series, the first year Dad showed interest in baseball.
Anyway, as my son is a Cards fan and I a lifelong Bolts fan, watch for the odd couple dressed in blue and gold with a red and black companion. Be kind…we’ve been to quite a few Bolts/Cards games and the Arizona fans have always been respectful.