In addition to ongoing training camp coverage, an August project here at Red Bird Recap will be selecting the all-time Arizona Cardinals roster. This will take into account players from every incarnation of the franchise – Racine, Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix and Arizona. The Cardinals are the oldest franchise in the history of professional football and therefore have a ton of players to take into account for this project. Indeed, the history of the franchise dates back before the days of the NFL to an amateur football team from Chicago known as the Morgan Athletic Club.
First up on the list will be quarterbacks. Red Bird Recap’s All-Time Cardinals team will be selecting three QBs for the roster.
QB3 – Jim Hart
Jim Hart makes the cut as the third string quarterback. Seen as the longtime heart and soul of the St. Louis Cardinals, the longest-tenured QB in franchise history is just too difficult to leave off the roster. The four-time Pro Bowl selection led the “Cardiac Cards” to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in 1974 and 1975, winning the NFC East division both seasons in an era that featured a Roger Staubach-led Dallas Cowboys team.
In Hart’s tenure, he led the Cardinals on 20 fourth-quarter comebacks and 23 game-winning drives. In the ’74 regular season, he led the NFL with the lowest percentage of passes intercepted at just 2.1%. But more so than statistics can get across, he remains an important piece in the history of the franchise – one of its all-time greatest figures and fan-favorites. The undisputable face of the team during its time in St. Louis, Missouri. He was inducted in the Cardinals’ Ring of Honor in 2017.
QB2 – Kurt Warner
Kurt Warner comes in as the second string quarterback on the roster. Though he perhaps remains best known for his years in St. Louis with the Rams, his place in the history of the Cardinals’ franchise is also secure. The 2008 season is among the greatest in team history, culminating with a last-minute Super Bowl loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team went just 9-7 in the regular season, but went on a remarkable postseason run. Warner threw for 11 touchdowns, 1,147 yards, and three interceptions that postseason, with a completion percentage of 68.1%.
Warner was inducted as a member of the Cardinals’ Ring of Honor in 2014. With the franchise’s championships coming in the pre-Super Bowl era, he’s the only Cardinals QB to ever start in or play in a Super Bowl game.
QB1 – Carson Palmer
Carson Palmer earns the starting position at quarterback on the roster. Upon coming to Arizona, he immediately rejuvenated his career. The 2015 regular season, in which the Cardinals went 13-3, is arguably the best regular season team in franchise history since the Super Bowl era and his play throughout is one of the main reasons why. He came in second in MVP voting that season after leading the NFL in yards gained per pass attempt (8.7), yards gained per pass completion (13.7), QBR (76.4), and game-winning drives (4).
Palmer was inducted in the Cardinals’ Ring of Honor in 2019. Despite losing to the Carolina Panthers in the ’15 NFC Conference Championship in handily fashion, that season’s team was made the offensive weapon it was because of his veteran leadership and the chemistry he shared with the great Larry Fitzgerald.
- Neil Lomax – Continuously solid.
- Kyler Murray – It’s too early in his career to put him on the roster.
- Charley Johnson – One of the earliest archetypes of the scrambling quarterback.
- Jake Plummer – Decent, but bad outweighed good. Wicked hair.
- Paddy Driscoll – Great early NFL player. Difficult to classify as a quarterback in a modern context.