Looking back at the Arizona Cardinals Hall of Fame Game appearances

Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Arizona Cardinals
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

The St.Louis/Arizona Cardinals got their first Hall of Fame Game win in 1974

Back when Jim Hart and Don Coryell were leading the team, their 1974 season got started on a successful note with a win over the Buffalo Bills. It would be a good omen for the redbirds, as they would go on to win their first ever divisional title in team history (they would also repeat that feat in 1975 as well).

This game wouldn’t go without controversy, as a ton of NFL players were striking against the “Rozelle Rule.” This was a rule that said if a team signed a free-agent, that the new team would be required to give compensation to the free agent’s former team.

  • Hypothetical (and probably never going to happen) example: Tom Brady signs with the Detroit Lions.
    • This would mean under the rule that Detroit and Tampa Bay would have to agree upon a compensation for Brady.
    • If neither team could come to an agreement, then-comissioner Pete Rozelle could institute any compensation of his choosing.

16. Final. 21. 32. 13

That’s why fans at the game held up signs asking “Hey, Hey, Where’s O.J. (Simpson)?” Well wouldn’t that become ironic twenty years down the road.

Back to the game. It was played by “scrubs” or replacement players pulled off the street. The Cardinals’ very own Dick “Night Train” Lane was being inducted into the hall that year as well. The Cardinals won the game 21-13.

But what a statement that strike made, as now free agency looks completely different and the only compensation related to free agency has been fixed. Now the team that loses the player gets no higher than a third-round compensatory pick based on a formula set out by the NFL.

The Arizona Cardinals record so far: 1-0-1.