Jim Hart to Join Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Jim Hart is one of the best quarterbacks in Arizona Cardinals History

The Arizona Cardinals don’t have the same kind of rich quarterback history that the Dallas Cowboys or Green Bay Packers have. However, they have had some terrific ones. One of their best spent 18 years with the then St Louis Cardinals, and ended up their all-time leader in passing completions, yards, and touchdowns.

Jim Hart didn’t have a classic Hall of Fame career. His numbers don’t jump off the page, for one. He completed just 51% of his passes and finished with more interceptions than touchdowns. His team’s record in games he started was an underwhelming 87-88-5. There’s more to it than though, though.

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When Hart took over, the Cardinals were in the midst of a long playoff drought. The last time they had made the playoffs was in 1948. The offense wasn’t very effective, and Hart’s numbers for his first several years suffered. In 1973, the team hired Don Coryell, and things turned around.

During Coryell’s tenure, Hart thrived. His completion percentage was over 53%, he threw 85 touchdowns to just 70 interceptions, and his passer rating was well over his career average.

More importantly, the Cardinals won games. From 1973 to 1977, in games where Hart started, they went 41-26-1 and made the playoffs twice. Hart also made four consecutive Pro Bowls during that time.

Hart played in a total of 199 games, which is more than all but two other players in team history. His 87 wins are nearly double the next closest passer. It’s important to note that he also played during the dead-ball era, which certainly impacted his numbers somewhat.

When discussing the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Jim Hart’s name isn’t likely to come up. However, when talking about all-time great Cardinals, he should. This fall, he will receive a much-deserved reward. He earned a spot in the Ring of Honor.