Jake Plummer’s Arizona Cardinals debut was a memorable one

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) Jake Plummer
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) Jake Plummer /

Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Jake “The Snake” Plummer almost rallied the team to victory in his professional debut.

The date was October 19th, 1997, and the Arizona Cardinals had flown across the country for an NFC East showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Just over 10 minutes remained in regulation, and the Cards trailed the Eagles by a score of 7-3. Arizona quarterback Stoney Case had struggled to move the offense throughout the afternoon, and head coach Vince Tobin realized that a spark was needed.

Rookie signal-caller Jake “The Snake” Plummer trotted onto the Veterans Stadium field, and the Cardinals were suddenly filled with energy. You could just feel it in your bones that the skinny kid out of Arizona State University was going to lead his teammates to paydirt.

The first big play of the 98-yard drive was a 34-yard strike from Plummer to wide receiver Rob Moore, a connection that set the Cards up at the Philadelphia 25-yard line. Five plays later, Plummer hit wideout Kevin Williams for a 31-yard touchdown that gave the Redbirds a 10-7 fourth-quarter lead.

Unfortunately, Arizona ultimately dropped a 13-10 decision to the Eagles, thanks to a 24-yard field goal in overtime by Philly kicker Chris Boniol. The final result was obviously disappointing, but the organization could take solace in the fact that Plummer had injected life into the floundering Cardinals.

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The loss to Philadelphia left the Cards with an ugly 1-6 record. With Plummer now entrenched as the starter, the club went 3-6 over their last nine matchups of the 1997 campaign. Arizona’s front office certainly had work to do in the offseason, but management was confident that they had finally found a young passer they could build around.

In 1998, the Cardinals finished with a 9-7 record and found themselves in the playoffs for the first time in 16 years. Plummer had guided the squad to three consecutive victories at the end of the regular season and even led the Cards to a scintillating postseason triumph over a heavily favored Dallas Cowboys team.

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Plummer would remain Arizona’s starting quarterback until he left town as a free agent in 2003. The former Arizona State Sun Devil had an up and down pro career, but Plummer’s pro debut back in 1997 will always be a fond memory for the Cardinals and their fans.