There were many great seasons during the 27 year of the Football Cardinals. But the perhaps the most memorable worth arguing is the 1984 team that statistically had the great regular season ever in franchise history. Going into the season was full of optimism after the team finished with an 8-7-1 and going over 500., for the second straight year in a row. Neil Lomax took over the helm as starting quarterback for the Cardinals after the team was led by great Jim Hart who quarterbacked the team for 18 seasons. Also, you had star running-back O.J. Anderson and Wide Receiver Roy Green. Lomax was second in the league behind NFL MVP Dan Marino with 4,614 yards passing and led the NFC in touchdown passes with 28. Roy Green led the league with 1,555 receiving yards and the Cardinals and top-rated offense in the National Football Conference. The Big Red had the number one rated offense in the National Football Conference, but one problem, they didn’t make the playoffs despite these historical numbers because of one person on the team, Neil O’ Donoghue. The 6ft6 inch Irishman became the savior during the 1984 season but on Week 1 of the regular season he missed the game winning 49 yard field goal very late in the 4th quarter and he missed again from 50 yards with no time left against the Washington then named Redskins on the final regular season what would had put the team in the post-season for the second during the 1980’s. If O’ Donoghue would had made both those game winning field goals the team would had finished 11-5 and would had hosted its first home playoff game against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Divisional round and would had probably beat the Bears again after the Cards beat them earlier in the season 38-21.
Now earlier in my article I said that going into the 1984 season, there was a lot of optimism for the Big Red, but there were dark clouds starting hover over the franchise future in St. Louis that would sadly lead the team to move to Arizona four years later. During that time period 2 teams moved to different cities to get better stadium deals and better value for the team. The Raiders moved from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982 following a major court battle against the NFL and the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984. The Philadelphia Eagles were one step of away from move to Phoenix, Arizona but a last-minute deal from the city prevented the team moving. Despite a talented roster that was put together the Cardinals front office the team struggled with attendance and couple with the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals who won the 1982 World Series and were on the cusp of dynasty. Owner Bill Bidwill had a press conference with then St. Louis Mayor Vincent Schoemehl and St. Louis County Commissioner Gene McNary in which Bidwill announce the team was planning to stay provided that both the County and City could come up with a stadium deal which sadly didn’t materialize, which eventually led the Football team to move to Arizona in 1988.
1984 Football Cardinals were a footnote on had they made they made the playoff that season perhaps they would have a good run towards the Super Bowl and there could had been deal for a new stadium and the team would had probably stayed; Who knows, because winning can have a huge effect on the future of a struggling franchise trying to get fan support and when a team makes the post-season the fans become interested and supportive of the team. The Football Cardinals were on the cusp of mirroring the great teams of the mid-70s but couldn’t quite seal deal. If the NFL Network were to do the top 10 greatest team not to make it to the playoffs, they would easily be in the middle of the top 10 list. Neil Lomax was supposed to be the next great franchise quarterback, but his career was cut short due to a hip injury that force him to retire after the 1988 season. O.J. Anderson, the Cardinals all-time leading rusher would eventually get traded to the rival New York Giants in 1986 and won two Super Bowl Rings and the game’s Most Valuable Player and Roy Green would play with the team until 1990, he finished his career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1992. The 1984 St. Louis Cardinals should be remembered in a positive way because they kept us on the edges of our seats, but it should had been much more than just a winning season.
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