There are currently 32 NFL franchises and each has had its good and bad moments. The focus here is on the positives and each team’s greatest campaign.
Greatness can mean several things. Many people know it when they see it. In this instance, it applies to a team. Of course, not every franchise has won an NFL title and/or Super Bowl. So how do you quantify single best season?
As usual, there are rules. The subject is the history of the league, which means dating back to 1920 and the advent of the league as we know it today.
In other words, we’re not limiting our choices to the Super Bowl era. And in case you become a bit confused, winning a championship doesn’t guarantee you a spot on this list as well.
Arizona Cardinals: 1975
It’s the franchise that has enjoyed stints in Chicago, St. Louis and currently the desert. The Cardinals’ last league championship came a mere 70 years ago when the Chicago Cardinals outlasted the Philadelphia Eagles, 28-21.
It would indeed be tempting to lean toward the 2015 edition of the club, one that won a team-record 13 regular-season games and got within one victory of Super Bowl 50. A late-season finger injury for quarterback Carson Palmer was certainly a factor down the stretch. And the 2008 Cardinals came with a few minutes of winning Super Bowl XLIII. But that was an up-and-down club that finished 9-7 and got hot when it counted most.
Still, we go back to the team’s place of residence between stints in the Windy City and the desert. The Cardinals called St. Louis home from 1960-87. They had their share of good moments but they were certainly too far and few between. In 1973, the team named innovative Don Coryell their head coach. In his second season, the team got off to a 7-0 start, finished 10-4 and won the NFC East. One year later, they were a well-balanced football team that won 11 games and a second straight division title.
Led by quarterback Jim Hart, running back Terry Metcalf and wide receiver Mel Gray, the Cards were sixth in the league in both rushing and passing yards per game. Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Roger Wehrli was the big name on an adequate defense.
The Cardinals would not win a playoff game that year but from top to bottom, that ’75 squad was of championship caliber.