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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Flash Points: Cardinals' defining moment

By Mike Sando

What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Cardinals -- for better or worse? Give us your take and we’ll give you our definitive moment on May 19.

The Cardinals go back to 1920, further than any other current NFC West franchise. They were the Chicago, St. Louis and Phoenix Cardinals before adopting Arizona. They even combined with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 1944 season when World War II drained rosters.

All that history produced relatively few key moments for a long, long time. The Cardinals' 1947 championship had to make the list. The team did not win another playoff game for 51 years. There were some solid seasons, notably under Don Coryell during the 1970s, but those teams gave up five turnovers and more than 800 yards in their two playoff appearances.

The team finally broke through in 1998. Chris Jacke's 52-yard field goal sailed through as time expired to beat San Diego on Dec. 27 of that year, securing a playoff berth. The Cardinals beat the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round one week later for their first playoff victory since the 1947 season. That six-day sequence still stands among the most memorable in franchise history. I singled out Jacke's kick as the key to it all.

The two other key events on the ballot are intertwined.

The successful push to get University of Phoenix Stadium built made the Cardinals more viable financially, clearing the way for on-field success culminating with a victory over Philadelphia to reach Super Bowl XLIII. The stadium vote passed two days after Aeneas Williams' 100-yard fumble return delivered an improbable victory over the Washington Redskins.

There were other legitimate candidates for inclusion on this ballot, from Kurt Warner's signing to Ken Whisenhunt's hiring.

If you vote Other, give us your suggestion in the comments area below.