| About us | Privacy Policy | Contact us | Sitemap
Home News Forum Blog Standings Roster Players Schedule Depth Chart Stats Photos Videos
eagles---cowboys Eagles @ Cowboys...
All the latest Philadelphia Eagles Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.
terrell-owens-crying----i-m-going-to-cry-because-i-have-to-pay-the-philadelphia-eagles---t-o--s-now-on-the-dallas-cowboys- Terrell Owens Crying - "I'm Going to Cry Because I Have To Pay The Philadelphia ...
All the latest Philadelphia Eagles Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.
philadelphia-eagles-training-camp-8-10-08-0002-edited-april-at-camp Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp 8-10-08 0002 Edited April at Camp...
All the latest Philadelphia Eagles Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles News

News » STEELERS VS. CARDINALS THEY USED TO COMPETE FOR THE TITLE OF WORST TEAM IN THE NFL, BACK WHEN FOOTBALL RANKED A DISTANT THIRD IN


STEELERS VS. CARDINALS THEY USED TO COMPETE FOR THE TITLE OF WORST TEAM IN THE NFL, BACK WHEN FOOTBALL RANKED A DISTANT THIRD IN


STEELERS VS. CARDINALS THEY USED TO COMPETE FOR THE TITLE OF WORST TEAM IN THE NFL, BACK WHEN FOOTBALL RANKED A DISTANT THIRD IN
Most of the Super Bowl commentaries on the history between the Steelers and the Cardinals bring up the awful Card-Pitts team of 1944 as the only meaningful link to the past between the two franchises, but in the post-World War II years before the Chicago Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960, the Steelers and the Cardinals, after a few successful seasons right after the war, battled each other into the 1950s for the dubious distinction of being the worst team in pro Football.


Among the memorabilia that I have from my misspent youth as a Pirates and Steelers fan is the program for a Sept. 14, 1949, night exhibition game, sponsored by the Dapper Dan Club, between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Cardinals. The program, from its numerous advertisements to its Steelers thumbnail sketches, is a bittersweet trip through Pittsburgh's pop cultural and sports history.

There are all those advertisements for Duquesne, Iron City, Fort Pitt, Old Shay and Rolling Rock beer, as well as for Schenley and Seagram's whiskey, reminders that Pittsburgh was both a hard-working and a hard-drinking, boiler-maker town in those days.

Among the thumbnail sketches are those for local favorites, like Duquesne's Val Jansante ("best receiver in Pittsburgh history") and Pitt's Bill McPeak (at 200 pounds, "a sterling defensive end") as well as rookie Jimmy Finks and third-year receiver Elbie Nickel, destined to set all-time passing and receiving records once the Same Old Steelers finally moved from the "three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust" single wing to the T-formation that revolutionized pro Football.

The Steelers-Cardinals program also includes "The Dapper Dans" by Al Abrams, sports editor of the Post-Gazette. The founder of the Dapper Dan Club in 1936, Mr. Abrams' piece offers fans a brief history of Dapper Dan's successful sponsorship of Steeler exhibition games (the Cardinals game was the fourth since 1942) and the organization's policy "to give the fans something worthwhile for their money."

Mr. Abrams believed that fans were definitely getting their money's worth in 1949 because the Chicago Cardinals, led by a "dream backfield" of Charley Trippi, Pat Harder, Elmer Angsma and Paul Christman, had overcome its Card-Pitts disaster and become NFL champions in 1947 and repeat Western Division champions in 1948 before losing the championship game to the Philadelphia Eagles in a driving snowstorm.

The Steelers had also vastly improved their worth to fans after hiring Pitt's legendary coach Jock Sutherland for the 1946 season. After a respectable first season, Mr. Sutherland led the Steelers to a tie for the Eastern Division title. Only a playoff loss to the Eagles prevented the Steelers from playing the Chicago Cardinals for the NFL championship in 1947.

After Jock Sutherland's shocking death in the spring of 1948 from a brain tumor, the demoralized Steelers suffered through a losing season under Sutherland protege John Michelosen, but Ed Kiely, the Steelers' publicity director, who wrote the program's "History of the Pittsburgh Steelers ," was still hopeful: "One of these years, Rooney is bound to get lucky in a Football way. Maybe 1949 is his year."

I wish I could recall a play or score from that exhibition game, but I do remember telling my father that all I wanted for Christmas was a white Football with painted black circles at each end, like the one that spiraled or wobbled through the night air at Forbes Field on the rare occasion when the Steelers threw a pass. I also hoped that my father would take me to "lots" of Steelers games in seasons to come, but, while I did get my Football, I'd have to find my way out to Forbes Field without my father in the 1950s if I wanted to see the Steelers.

Before the Steelers hired Jock Sutherland, my father, along with most Pittsburgh sports fans, regarded pro Football as a distant third behind baseball and boxing. He loved talking about the "good old days" when he watched Pirate greats like Pie Traynor and the Waner brothers and dreamed of playing one day at Forbes Field. He was also an avid fight fan in a city with a rich tradition of boxing champions from Harry Greb to Fritzie Zivic and Billy Conn.

But my father believed that pro Football wasn't always on the "up and up" and was convinced that, as long as the NFL used referees from the same region as the home team, the Steelers were "gonna get jobbed" every time they played on the road. He listened faithfully to Rosey Rowswell's Pirates radio broadcasts, took me to his favorite South Side beer joint to watch the Pabst Blue Ribbon bouts and the fights on the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, but, on Sunday, after the Steelers fell back into their losing ways, he was content to drink his Iron City and play poker at the Duquesne Social Club.

My father may have given up on the Steelers after the brief Sutherland era, but, in the 1950s, win or lose, and mostly they lost, I became a die-hard Steelers fan, determined, even if I had no money, to see their games. So, on the Sunday morning of a Steelers home game, my Football buddies and I would walk or hitchhike from the South Side out to Forbes Field and panhandle or sneak our way into the ballpark.

From our vantage point atop a refreshments stand, we watched lopsided losses to the Browns, bloodbaths with the Eagles, but when the Chicago Cardinals came to town, we finally had a chance to watch the Steelers win a game.

The Steelers didn't have a winning season in the 1950s until Bobby Layne came to town in 1958, but the Chicago Cardinals, with only one winning season in the decade, were even worse. In the 1950s, the Steelers didn't lose a game to the Cardinals until 1954 and finished the decade with a 15-4 record against them. The Cardinals had some exciting offensive players, including the pesky Billy Cross and the fleet-footed Ollie Matson, but the Same Old Steelers had a rugged defense, led by Pro Bowlers Dale Dodrill, Jack Butler and Ernie Stautner, and usually shut them down.

Looking back at those Steelers-Cardinals games of the past, I'm grateful for the generosity of the Chicago Cardinals for making life bearable when I was growing up a Steelers fan, but, now that I'm growing old, I hope the Arizona Cardinals will extend that same generosity for at least one more game.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 31, 2009

Jamaal Jackson Name: Jamaal Jackson
#67
Position: OL
Age: 28
Experience: 5 years
College: Delaware State
Copyright © Eagleswire.com, Inc. All rights reserved 2017.