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Packers-Cardinals Series History

A brief rundown of the series history between the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals.

Scott Boehm

It is Tuesday, and that means it is time for another Green Bay Packers series history post. Today, I will be covering the Packers' history against the Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals.

Although these teams have been playing since 1921, this series isn't nearly as prolific as Packers-Rams in terms of history or games played. Despite this fact, there have been many memorable games between these two teams. The Packers currently lead the regular season series 43-22-4, while the postseason series is tied at 1-1.

The Packers' overall mark in this series would suggest the Packers have been dominant throughout. That is the case for the most part, but early on, it was the Cardinals who had the edge in the series. The Cardinals won four of the first five games between the teams, with that fifth game being a 3-3 tie in 1921 in the first game in the series. This trend lasted until the 1926 season, when the Cardinals won the first of two games between the teams that year.

Later in 1926, the Packers became the dominant team in the series, posting a 12-2-1 mark against the Cardinals leading into the 1934 season. This included the dominant 1929-1930-1931 Packers teams, who won the NFL Championships every year in that span.

From 1934-1936, the Packers and Cardinals played each other three times per year. The Cardinals won the last two games between the teams in 1934 and swept all three Packers-Cardinals games in 1935 (the Packers went 8-1 against the rest of the NFL in 1935). With the Cardinals having won five in a row going into 1936, the series was very close to being even again.

Starting in 1936, however, the Packers went on a tear against the Cardinals, posting a 17-1-1 mark over Chicago until late in the 1946 season. This coincided with the Packers being an NFL force in those seasons, while the Cardinals sunk into the NFL cellar. It is worth noting that the NFL does not consider the 1944 games between the Packers and the combined Chicago Cardinals-Pittsburgh Steelers team a part of either this series or the Packers-Steelers series (a similar occurrence happens with the 1944 Philadelphia Eagles-Pittsburgh Steelers combined team). In these years, the Packers and Cardinals often played twice per year, which explains why the Packers won so many games over the Cardinals.

In late 1946, however, the Packers faded into obscurity while the Cardinals began a brief reign of dominance. Chicago won the next seven games between the teams leading up through the 1949 season. For 1950, the NFL realigned, and the Cardinals went into the division with the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, and New York Yanks. Not surprisingly, the number of Packers-Cardinals games that took place after the realignment dropped sharply.

The next games between the teams was a home-and-home in 1955 and 1956 (Cardinals went to Green Bay in 1955 and hosted the Packers in 1956). The Packers won both of these games, which happened to be the last games between the Packers and Cardinals before the Cardinals left Chicago for good. They relocated to St. Louis for the 1960 NFL season. The Packers posted a 31-19-3 mark against the Cardinals while they were in Chicago.

In 1962, the Packers played their first game against the then-St. Louis Cardinals in Milwaukee. The Packers won and went on to win three more games over the Cardinals in the 1960s. This includes two road wins at Busch Stadium.

In 1971, the teams played to a 16-16 tie, the fourth and last tie in the overall series. From this point until 1987, when the Cardinals left St. Louis for Phoenix, there were very few Packers-Cardinals games. The teams split these four games, with the home team winning all four games (two in Green Bay, two in St. Louis). From 1960-1987, the Packers posted a 6-2-1 mark over the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 1988, the Cardinals renamed themselves the Phoenix Cardinals, and there were two games between the Packers and Cardinals. Despite the fact that the Packers were among the NFL doormats, and reversing the trend of the home team winning every game, the Packers won both games in Phoenix. However, their 1988 win cost the Packers the top pick in the NFL draft for 1989, and they ended up drafting some bust of a lineman out of Michigan State the following season while passing on players like Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, and Deion Sanders.

The Cardinals renamed themselves the Arizona Cardinals for the 1994 season, but the Packers and Cardinals did not meet again until the last game of the ill-fated 1999 season. Green Bay won in a shootout at Lambeau Field, and then the Packers beat the Cardinals early the following season in front of a very pro-Packers crowd in Arizona.

In 2003, the Cardinals were among the worst teams in the NFL, but they somehow managed to beat the Packers by taking Green Bay out of its game and making the Packers throw the ball. This seemed a source of embarrassment for Packers fans until the Cardinals knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs on the last play of the last game of the season, handing the Packers a very unexpected NFC North division championship.

The Packers blew out the Cardinals in 2006 and then finished the 2009 regular season by beating the Cardinals 33-7 in Arizona.

There are two unusual trends in this series. Firstly, the Packers did not win a road game over the Cardinals from 1971-1988. Secondly, the Cardinals have not beaten the Packers in Green Bay or Milwaukee since the 1949 season, making Curly Lambeau the only Packers coach to have suffered a home loss to the Cardinals.

The playoff series is tied 1-1. The first playoff game was after the strike-shortened 1982 NFL season, when the NFL went to an eight-team tournament. The Packers clobbered the Cardinals 41-16 at Lambeau Field for Lynn Dickey's only playoff win as an NFL quarterback.

The 2009 playoff game remains controversial to this day. In his first playoff start, Aaron Rodgers threw an interception on his first pass and the Cardinals led early 17-0. The Packers fought back, tying the game at 45-45 and sending the game into overtime. In overtime, however, Aaron Rodgers was mugged after releasing a pass but no flag was thrown. On the following play, the Cardinals forced Rodgers to fumble and ran the fumble in for a touchdown, but the Cardinals lineman who sacked Rodgers grabbed Rodgers' facemask after forcing the fumble. Again, no flag was thrown, the play stood, and the Packers had one of their most heartbreaking losses of all time.

What are your memories of the Packers playing the Cardinals?