Sunday, January 18, 2009

Arizona nee Chicago Cardinals Advance to the Super Bowl

The Arizona nee Chicago Cardinals advance to the Super Bowl after today's win against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team itself with a Chicago connection through its quarterback Chicagoan Donovan McNabb, the pride and joy of football powerhouse Mt. Carmel High School, long run by the Carmelites on the South Side near the University of Chicago.

The Cardinals were my father's team, but it didn't bring him or other fans much joy. They generally weren't very good, but did win one championship -- in 1947 against the same Philadelphia Eagles. They played for years at the old Comiskey Park, while the Bears played at Wrigley Field.

The Cardinals supposedly acquired their red color and their new name when the original owner bought faded, cast-off maroon uniforms from the University of Chicago, then a major football school. The Bears also borrowed from the U of C -- its football-shaped "C" logo and its nickname "The Monsters of the Midway" (after the Midway Plaisance, which runs through the campus and is basically a wide, sunken parkway dug but never used as a Venetian canal for the 1893 Columbian Exposition). The Bears, incidentally, took their blue and orange colors from the University of Illinois.

The Cardinals sadly left Chicago for St. Louis in 1960, around the time so many other sports franchises relocated. They stayed there until 1988, when they moved a second time -- to Phoenix.

I heard on the radio that no other National Football League team has gone longer without a championship. Here's hoping there's one more win left this season for the old team that started out on the West Side, the oldest franchise in the NFL.

Richard R Balsamo