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The W - Football - The historical significance of Eagles versus Cardinals
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Mr Shh
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Since: 9.1.02
From: Bergen County, NJ

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.51
It seems every pro sports franchise has some kind of curse. Did you know that the Cardinals NFL franchise is one of those?

The curse was placed upon them by the town where I was born and raised, Pottsville, PA. Some may recognize Pottsville as the home of the Yuengling Brewery.

For a few years during the 1920s, Pottsville, PA, had an NFL franchise - the Pottsville Maroons. By virtue of having the best win-loss percentage in 1925, the Pottsville Maroons were set to be recognized as the NFL Champions.

Earlier in the season, the Frankford Yellow Jackets (NFL franchise from suburban Philadelphia), who at the time had the best W-L % in the east and thinking they would finish the season with such, contracted with a Philly promoter to hold an exhibition game in December at Shibe Park in Philly. The game was to pit the best NFL team from the east at that time against a team of Notre Dame All-Stars. The idea was to make extra $$$ off of what was expected to be a large gate.

Well, after this game was set up, Pottsville played and crushed Frankford in one game, then played and won their last league-scheduled game against the Chicago Cardinals. After the game against the Cards, the Maroons had the best record in the east, and as such, would be the ones playing in the Notre Dame exhibition game, which was scheduled for the following week.

Frankford, seeing that they lost out on the gate they helped set up, cried foul. They claimed that if Pottsville played Notre Dame in Philadelphia, they would be violating so-called territory by-laws set up by the NFL.

The NFL commissioner at the time was said to have warned Pottsville not to play the game. Pottsville claimed that they received verbal permission to play. And besides, it was a contractual agreement. Pottsville played (and won) the game. The league then suspended the team, taking away championship eligibility.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals scheduled and won two games after losing to Pottsville, giving them the best record. One of the teams they played had to play using high school players because the team had already disbanded for the season. The league threatened to eliminate the game from the records, but did not do so. The league then tried to present the championship to the Cardinals. They did not accept at the time. But Charles Bidwill did claim the title in 1933 when he took over as owner of the franchise. Pottsville maintained that they were the rightful champions.

You know the Chicago Cardinals today as the Arizona Cardinals (still under control of the Bidwill family).

You know the Frankford Yellow Jackets today as the Philadelphia Eagles.

The curse was said to have been placed on the Cardinals in 1963 after the NFL opened a case to examine the controversy. A motion to give the championship to Pottsville was voted down by opposition said to be led by the son of Charles Bidwill. The Cardinals last won a championship in 1947 (ironically after beating the Eagles - the Eagles beat the Cardinals in the championship game the following year).

In 2003, the NFL owners were lobbied to re-open to case (to discuss awarding at least part of the championship to Pottsville). The motion to even talk about it was quashed 30-2. The opposition was again led by a Bidwill and the supporting votes came from Steelers owner Dan Rooney and Eagles owner Jeff Lurie (officially cementing the Eagles as friends of Pottsville even though Pottsville has always been a big Eagles town despite what happened in 1925).

David Fleming wrote the book Breaker Boys: The NFLs Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship (The W at Amazon). Hall of Fame historian Joe Horrigan is considered one of the top opponents of giving the title to Pottsville. The town of Pottsville actually hosted a debate between these two early last year. The most noteworthy thing to come from this is that Horrigan conceded that there is no proof that the territory by-laws existed in 1925 (he said there was proof they existed in 1926).

I remember my grandfather talking about the Maroons when I was kid. I was always a baseball fan first, though, and football was second. The field where the Maroons played their home games is now a shopping plaza. This controversy was never forgotten but it was mostly stuck in the minds of the old-timers. It became huge in Pottsville back in 2006 when the town celebrated its bicentennial. A sports bar called Maroons opened up at the same time. Flemings book (which is going to be made into a movie) added a LOT of fuel to that fire. Maroons (the bar) is going to be insane on Sunday. For a long time, Ive been dying to see a Steelers-Eagles Super Bowl (Steagles Bowl, Keystone Bowl, Turnpike Bowl, what have you). It was huge to me back when it almost happened four years ago and its huge to me now. But now theres this added layer of civic pride attached to the Conference Championship. This will kind of be the Super Bowl for a lot of Pottsville natives.

References:

Official site of the Maroons (breakerboys1925.com)
Article co-authored by Joe Horrigan attempting to discredit Pottsvilles claim (web.archive.org)
Pottsville Maroons (en.wikipedia.org)
1925 NFL Championship controversy (en.wikipedia.org)
A statistical analysis showing that Pottsville had the best record in 1925 despite being suspended and the Cardinals winning two games afterwards (sports.espn.go.com)



(edited by Mr Shh on 16.1.09 1550)
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CRZ
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.86
This is awesome.

DUGG



Big Bad
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Since: 4.1.02
From: Dorchester, Ontario

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.62
I can't find the stat at the moment, but apparently the Cards and Eagles' all-time series is tied at something like 147-147-5 between the two going into Sunday's game.



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Lisa: But isn't that a bit short-sighted? What happens when we're overrun by lizards?
Skinner: No problem. We simply release wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They'll wipe out the lizards.
Lisa: But aren't the snakes even worse?
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Downtown Bookie
Morcilla








Since: 7.4.02
From: The Inner City, Now Living In The Country

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.26
    Originally posted by Big Bad
    I can't find the stat at the moment, but apparently the Cards and Eagles' all-time series is tied at something like 147-147-5 between the two going into Sunday's game.
According to this site (honoluluadvertiser.com) the two teams' series record is indeed tied, at 53-53-5.

Oh, and per the same site, game time is 10:00 AM Hawaii Time. Just so you know.




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Since: 14.9.07

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.02
    Originally posted by Downtown Bookie
      Originally posted by Big Bad
      I can't find the stat at the moment, but apparently the Cards and Eagles' all-time series is tied at something like 147-147-5 between the two going into Sunday's game.
    According to this site (honoluluadvertiser.com) the two teams' series record is indeed tied, at 53-53-5.

    Oh, and per the same site, game time is 10:00 AM Hawaii Time. Just so you know.



Had former Eagles owner Leonard Tose had his way, there might not be a "Philadelphia" Eagles or "Arizona" Cardinals.

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/20090114_Looking_back_to_when_Eagles_almost_went_to_Arizona.html
Zeruel
Thirty Millionth Hit
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Since: 2.1.02
From: The Silver Spring in the Land of Mary.

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05
Back in 2003 when they reopened the Pottsville case was when I first became aware of them. I wish the NFL would look it over again. I can't see why they're not open to seeing if they should be awarded at least a co-championship.

Because the league was so young, and college ball was more popular, it complicates matters that teams didn't really have a fixed sch and played non-league teams.

EDIT:

http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/Story.asp?story_id=15322

In that 2008 preview, before their game, it says the Eagles are 53-54-5 vs the Cards. The Eagles won that game, so it that would make them 54-54-5, not the 53-53-5 that the honoluluadvertiser.com site states. I'll take the Official Eagles' numbers over the Honolulu Advertiser's numbers.

(edited by Zeruel on 17.1.09 1342)

(edited by Zeruel on 17.1.09 1343)

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Big Bad
Scrapple








Since: 4.1.02
From: Dorchester, Ontario

Since last post: 7 days
Last activity: 1 day
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.62
Heh, so I was at least right about the tied record, if somewhat off (by, say, 200) on the number of games played.



Skinner: Well, I was wrong. The lizards are a godsend.
Lisa: But isn't that a bit short-sighted? What happens when we're overrun by lizards?
Skinner: No problem. We simply release wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They'll wipe out the lizards.
Lisa: But aren't the snakes even worse?
Skinner: Yes, but we're prepared for that. We've lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat.
Lisa: But then we're stuck with gorillas!
Skinner: No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death!
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What's crazy is that Priest wouldn't even have that record right now if not for the insane comeback attempt in 2007. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/H/HolmPr00/gamelog/2007/
- Guru Zim, Larry Johnson released (2009)
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