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Monday, October 16, 2006
The Worst Franchise in the History of Sports?

The Arizona/Phoenix/St. Louis/Chicago Cardinals by a mile. When they moved to Phoenix in 1988, I had a friend who was determined to support the new team, but I warned him at the time that this was not exactly a team covered in glory. They have now been in the Valley of the Sun for 19 seasons; during that time they've had a winning record once. And prior to that they were pretty sketchy as well. During their entire time in St. Louis they did not win a postseason game. In fact, in 87 years of play, they have accumulated a total of two postseason victories. Only the Houston Texans, who are now in their fifth year as a franchise, have fewer.

As you may have gathered, I was thoroughly disgusted by the Cardinals' performance tonight. Ironically, like everybody else, I was expecting them to get hammered by the Bears. And don't get me wrong; there's a lot to be upbeat about. The defense played superbly, allowing only one field goal. Matt Leinart looked like a man with a long and productive future in the NFL.

But in the end you have to win the game. The Cardinals managed to lose two games in which their rookie quarterback played superbly, certainly well enough to win. About the only costly mistake Leinart made was on the fumble that resulted in a Bears TD; he should have recognized that nobody was guarding the defensive end on his right and called for a timeout or redirected one of the blockers.

Update: John Ruberry sees the Bears as a team of destiny. Maybe. But this game did seem to expose a lot of weakness in their offense, against the Cardinals who are not exactly a punishing defense.
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