Pushes in the House of the Cards

If you don’t follow the NFL, or you’ve been away from your television, radio or computer since Sunday, the Cardinals and Seahawks played to a 6-6 draw (tie in American parlance) in the Sunday Night Football game at Glendale.

I didn’t watch any of it. I was too afraid the Cardinals would lose. I didn’t watch any of the Cardinals’ game vs. the Jets the previous Monday, either. I wasn’t about to get myself worked up after the egg Arizona laid in the season opener vs. the Patriots, who were without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

It was the first time the Seahawks have played to a draw in franchise history. Seattle came into the NFL in 1976, the third season there was sudden death overtime for regular season games.

Even though there has been overtime in the regular season since ’74, the Cardinals had drawn twice before Sunday since the rule was instituted: 20-20 vs. the Giants in 1983 on Monday Night Football (more on that later), and 10-10 at Philadelphia in 1986.

From 1974-2011, the overtime rules in the regular season were simple: first team to score wins. If the full 15-minute period went without a team scoring, the game ended drawn.

In 2012, the rule was changed–it had been changed for the playoffs in 2010–to where if the team receiving the overtime kickoff scored a field goal, the other team could  (a) match the field goal, at which time it became sudden death; (b) win the game with a touchdown; or (c) lose the game by failing to score or committing a turnover. If the team receiving the overtime kickoff did not score on its first possession, it automatically reverted to sudden death.

The Cards-Seahawks deadlock was the fourth under the new OT rules. It happened to the Rams and 49ers in 2012, Vikings and Packers in 2013, and Panthers and Bengals in 2014.

Prior to Sunday, the last NFL game to end drawn without either team scoring a touchdown occurred November 5, 1972, when the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles ended 6-6.

There have been three 6-6 draws in the NFL since 1939. All three have involved the Cardinals. The first was November 22, 1970, when St..Louis and the Chiefs deadlocked 6-6 at the old Municipal Stadium in Kansas City.

Jim Bakken was the kicker for the Cardinals from 1962-78. They could have used him Sunday. Chandler Catanzaro missed a 24-yard kick in overtime which would have won the game. Then again, Seattle’s Steven Hauschka missed from 27. OUCH.

Catanzaro and Hauschka reminded me of the 1983 Giants-Cards game which ended tied. It was at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis. Howard Cosell was NOT there, taking time off following the conclusion of the World Series, where he was a broadcaster for ABC, alongside Al Michaels and Earl Weaver. Instead, Orenthal James Simpson was in the booth with Frank Gifford and Don Meredith.

Seven days prior to Giants-Cards, the Redskins and Packers put on one of the most thrilling games in regular season history. Green Bay outlasted defending Super Bowl XVII champion Washington 48-47 when the Redskins’ Mark Moseley, the 1982 NFL Most Valuable Player, missed a field goal on the game’s final play. The Redskins didn’t lose again until Super Bowl XVIII, when they were humbled by the Raiders.

Giants-Cards was 180 degrees from Redskins-Packers.

It has been called the worst game ABC telecast on MNF, and I can see why. Cards kicker Neil O’Donoghue missed THREE field goals in overtime, including a 19-yard gimme, which is the equivalent of an extra point.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why Cards coach Jim Hanifan kept O’Donoghue. Had he cut him after his MNF fiasco, St. Louis might have won the NFC East the next season. An O’Donoghue miss on the final play of the 1984 finale at Washington which allowed the Redskins to win the division and keep the Cards home.

Why did Hanifan not try to score a TD when O’Donoghue missed the 19-yard field goal? He had a damn good running back in Ottis Anderson. He had two outstanding wideouts, Roy Green and Pat Tilley. What the hell? Was he that worried about a fumble? Come on, man. Even if the Cards fumbled that deep in their own territory, they might have won on a safety, given how putrid the Giants’ offense was that night.

Fortunately, the game lasted past midnight in the Central time zone, so most Americans were fast asleep by time it ended.

The New York Times described the game as “poorly played” with “an incredibly bad finish”. Sums it up.

The 1983 Giants were horrible, because the new coach, Duane Charles Parcells, better known as “Bill” or “The Big Tuna”, had the wonderful idea Scott Brunner and Jeff Rutledge were better quarterbacks than Phil Simms.

Smooth move, Ex-Lax.

If Ray Perkins had little or no confidence in Brunner being better than Simms, why should Parcells have? Parcells was on Perkins’ staff for three seasons. What, he didn’t see it in 7-on-7 drills? If Parcells was that enamored with Brunner, he should have just reacquired Joe Piscarcik. .

Parcells was very nearly fired after going 3-12-1. He survived, then thrived, with Big Blue, getting to the playoffs in 1984–the Giants’ first berth since losing the 1963 NFL championship game to the Bears–and winning Super Bowls in 1986 and 1990.

Strangely, the Cards and Seahawks played two overtime games in three seasons in the mid-1990s, long before they became division rivals. Arizona won in 1993 at the Kingdome on a late field goal by Greg Davis, and in 1995, won at Sun Devil Stadium on a 72-yard pick-six by Lorenzo Lynch.

The Cards’ history with Seattle dates to the Seahawks’ very first game, which St. Louis won 30-24 at the Kingdome on Sept. 12, 1976.

The odds the Cards (at Carolina) or Seahawks (at New Orleans) will play to a draw this week are very, very, very slim. Slimmer than Kate Moss. The last time a team played consecutive deadlocks was 1971, when the Raiders did vs. the Chiefs and Saints. Tom Brookshier, the late, great CBS broadcaster, described back-to-back deadlocks as “like kissing your sister when she’s got the mumps”.

New England hasn’t played a tie since October 8, 1967, when it was the BOSTON Patriots. Every other NFL team which was around in ’67 has played to a draw since the merger, as has Cincinnati, which came along in ’68. Expansion teams Tampa Bay, Carolina and the Baltimore Ravens all had prior to Sunday, and now Seattle joined that list.

No team has played more than one draw in a single season since 1973, the year before overtime in the regular season, when the Broncos, Browns, Chiefs and Packers all had two on their ledgers. The Broncos had two in three weeks in ’73; the first was against Oakland on MNF, the game where Don Meredith exclaimed, “We’re in the Mile High City, and so am I!”. One night after the Broncos’ second tie of the sequence, 17-17 at St. Louis, Meredith called President Nixon “Tricky Dick” while he was broadcasting the Redskins-Steelers game in Pittsburgh.

Now I’m droning on about history I’m sure three people might care about other than me. I’ll stop.

 

 

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on October 26, 2016, in Arizona Cardinals, National Football League and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: