A crazy story about how the Cardinals almost landed Steve Young

(Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images) Steve Young
(Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images) Steve Young /
2 of 4
Arizona Cardinals
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) /

St.Louis Cardinals had a very rough end to their time in Missouri

From 1986 to 1987, the Cardinals posted a record of 11-19-1, including a -133 point differential in 1986. Neil Lomax was the team’s quarterback and had been part of the team that experienced great strides and regressions in terms of total offense from 1981 to 1987.

The Cardinals also dealt with a threat from one of the players on the MLB’s St.Louis Cardinals team in 1987. That one player turned out to be Jack Clark, who claimed he would hit baseballs at the “scab/backup” players when they were clearing the field for the baseball team to practice.

The Cardinals tried to flip Lomax to the Los Angeles Raiders, but that never happened despite an old press release saying otherwise. Lomax’s introduction is vital to the story, as the Cardinals wanted to get rid of him and find someone new.

Enter Tampa Bay’s Steve Young, a second-year player out of BYU. According to records, the Cardinals were ready to give up their first-round pick (sixth overall) to get Young out of Tampa.

When Gene Stallings originally had his guy in Young, the Cardinals were undoubtedly excited to get one of the more talented passers in the league.

That was until Young found out about it from then-Buccaneers head coach Ray Perkins. Below is how Young reacted.

"I get a call from [Bucs coach] Ray Perkins. He said, “Congratulations, you’re a St. Louis Cardinal.” I called [agent Leigh Steinberg]. He told me the Cardinals had offered the Buccaneers their first-round pick for me. That meant Tampa would have the first and second picks overall. Perkins had his eye on Alabama’s All-American linebacker, Cornelius Bennett. I told Lee there was no way I was going to St. Louis. The Cardinals were another team that was going nowhere. But I didn’t sit back and wait. I immediately called [Bucs owner] Hugh Culverhouse. I didn’t even give him a chance to say hello. “You traded me to the Cardinals? You tell me I’m your quarterback for life and you send me to the Cardinals? You can’t do that to me!”"

Young was not happy, and neither side was ready for the fallout of what would happen past this point. Nevertheless, it was a turning point for four franchises. Two benefitted from this change, and two did not.