Sunday, April 27, 2014

St. Louis Cardinals

Here are the 1971 Cardinals. They sure have a lot of all-stars for a team that finished 8-5-1, but I guess that record was a real accomplishment for a team that finished 4-9-1 in every other season between 1969 and 1973.

Jim Hart was an undrafted free agent signed by the Cardinals in 1966. After riding the bench behind veteran Charley Johnson as a rookie, Hart was the starting QB for the next 15 years (except for 1969, when Johnson regained the starting job, and in 1972, when Hart and two others shared the starting assignments.) Hart was the backup behind Neil Lomax in '82 and '83, then finished his career with the Redskins in 1984. He was a 4-time Pro-Bowler (1974-77).

MacArthur Lane was the Cardinals' #1 pick in 1968. After riding the bench as a rookie, he returned kicks in 1969, then became the featured back for the '70 and '71 seasons, leading the NFL with 11 rushing TDs in 1970 while making his only Pro Bowl.

After the '71 season, he was traded to Green Bay for running back Donny Anderson, and was the Packers' top back for 3 seasons. Lane moved on to the Chiefs, where he played his final 4 seasons (1975-78). He was the starter only in 1976, leading the NFL with 66 receptions that season.

Johnny Roland was a 4th-round pick in 1965, but didn't play until 1966. He was a starting back for the Cardinals from 1966-71, and made the Pro Bowl in his first 2 seasons. Roland's final season (1973) was spent as the Giants' starting fullback.

A 10th-round pick in 1963, Jackie Smith was the Cardinals' starting tight end for 13 seasons (1963-75). He was also the team's punter for 3 seasons (1964-66), and made the Pro Bowl for 5 consecutive seasons (1966-70). After 2 seasons as a backup, Smith finished his career in 1978 with the Cowboys, appearing in Super Bowl XIII against the Steelers.

Ernie McMillan was drafted by the Cardinals in the 13th round in 1961, and also by the Boston Patriots in the 29th round of the AFL draft. He was the Cardinals' starting right tackle from 1961-73, then moved to the left side in 1974. Ernie was the Packers starting left tackle in his final season (1975). McMillan made 4 Pro Bowls while with the Cardinals.

Jim Bakken was drafted in 1963, and spent his entire 17-year career with the Cardinals. He made the Pro Bowl 4 times ('65, '67, '75, '76), led the NFL in field goal percentage in '65 and '67, and led the NFL with 117 points in 1967. Jim was also the team's punter in '65 and '66 (and briefly in later year).

Larry Stallings was the Cardinals' 18th-round pick in 1963, but parlayed that into a 14-year career, every one of them as the Cardinals' starting left linebacker. Stallings ran back a fumble for a TD in both 1965 and 1969, and made the Pro Bowl in 1970.

Roger Wehrli was the Cardinals' #1 pick in the 1969 draft, and spent the next 13 seasons as a starting defensive back for the Cards. Usually the right cornerback, he played left corner as a rookie, and strong safety in 1972. Wehrli made the Pro Bowl 7 times during those 13 seasons. He was a backup DB in his final season (1982).

Miller Farr began his career in 1965 as the Broncos' strong safety. He played for the Chargers at the end of that season and all of 1966. Farr's best seasons were 1967-69, playing left cornerback for the Houston Oilers. He made the Pro Bowl in all three seasons, and led the league with 10 interceptions in 1967.

He moved on to the Cardinals in 1970, starting at cornerback for 3 seasons. Miller finished his career as a backup with the Lions in 1973. His brother Mel was a running back for the Lions from 1967-73.

Larry Wilson is the only Hall-of-Famer here, and the only Cardinal in the past 60 years to have his number retired for his on-field accomplishments. (J. V. Cain and Pat Tillman also had their numbers retired, after their untimely deaths.)

Wilson was a 7th-round pick in 1960, and was the Cardinals' starting free safety for his entire 13-year career (1960-72). He made the Pro Bowl every season from 1962 to 1970 (except 1964), and led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 1966. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.

Also check out the 1967 Cardinals.