Since 1898, when the team formed as the Morgan Athletic Club, there have been interesting moments in Arizona Cardinals franchise history.
The Arizona Cardinals history doesn’t get talked about too much. The 1959 season was the team’s last in Chicago, and the Cardinals were in a financial hole. Basically the “little brother” of the Chicago Bears, they were forced to look elsewhere for a city to support them.
I was recently watching a great video where the NFL went through each team’s stadium history, and found out a surprising fact. The team had flirted with moving to Minnesota, playing two games to test the waters (the Vikings would be born a few years later).
I was actually surprised, as I had never heard anything close to this story coming true. Growing up in Wisconsin, thinking of another team that’s not already in the NFC North almost establishing their roots is pretty crazy. “The Minnesota Cardinals” just sounds silly, doesn’t it?
Strangely, the Cardinals played two “home” games in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during the 1959 season. Owner Violet Bidwill Wolfner desperately wanted to move her financially struggling franchise, and the NFL was exploring the idea of a team in Minnesota. In the end, the Cardinals and Minneapolis were not a love connection. The Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960, and the Vikings came into existence in Minneapolis in ’61.
Both games ended in losses for the team, dropping games to the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants. What would’ve happened to the team history had they played in Minnesota?
Would it have been the Cardinals pulling off the Viking’s four total trips to the super bowl? In addition to all of this, learning about the drama that Violet Bidwill put her two adopted sons through upon her death in 1962 is something that could be on 30 for 30.
Somehow the Bidwill family has found a way to keep the team alive and we luckily have a team today. It’s something that deserves to be remembered, even if it happened more than 50 years ago.
The Arizona Cardinals history is low-key rich with incredible stories, and over the off-season I will try to find more lesser-known facts about them. Now you’re ready for that obscure NFL trivia question at your next trivia game.