Cardinals had legitimate shot at a championship back in 2014

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Carson Palmer
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Carson Palmer /

The Arizona Cardinals got off to a roaring start back in 2014, but an unfortunate injury put an end to their Super Bowl hopes.

Back in 2014, Bruce Arians was the head coach of an Arizona Cardinals squad that seemed primed to win a Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Entering a week nine matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, the Cards were the proud owners of an impressive 7-1 record. The team’s good fortune continued in Texas, thanks to an almost flawless performance that resulted in a 28-17 trampling of the overmatched Cowboys.

Arizona had another easy time of it the following week with the struggling St. Louis Rams, posting a 31-14 victory over their division rival. What happened late in the contest, however, will go down as one of the most gut-wrenching occurrences in the history of the Cardinals franchise.

Arizona Cardinals wave goodbye to their 2014 Super Bowl aspirations

Early in the fourth quarter of the clash with the Rams, Cards quarterback Carson Palmer suffered the second season-ending knee injury of his NFL career. Any dreams of a Super Bowl championship that the team may have had in ’14 were essentially destroyed by the unfortunate incident.

Veteran Drew Stanton took the reigns, and would lead the Redbirds to a 2-2 record over the next four weeks. The 30-year-old journeyman kept the club’s playoff hopes alive, but more bad luck was just around the corner. In Week 15, Stanton would sustain a torn ACL of his own (versus St.Louis ironically), forcing Arizona to finish the campaign with a third-string signal-caller.

The awful Ryan Lindley was pressed into action, and not surprisingly, the Cardinals would lose their final two regular-season games. An 11-5 finish qualified them for the postseason, but the Carolina Panthers handed the Lindley-led Cards a 27-16 defeat during the league’s Wild Card weekend.

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Arizona fans can only wonder what could’ve been if Palmer had managed to remain healthy. Chalk the passer’s mishap up to another heart-wrenching moment in the history of the Cardinals organization.