For the Bidwill family football team, St. Louis was literally a gateway to the West.
The Cardinals bailed on their former host city in 1988, leaving St. Louis without a professional football for seven years. It’s made for some very interesting homecomings.
When the Rams won a Super Bowl in 1999, one of their fans took out a newspaper ad thanking Bill Bidwill. Of course, the fan spelled Bidwill’s name wrong, like many people do. But the message was clear:
We wouldn’t have won this trophy without you leaving town.
When the Cardinals signed Kurt Warner, the temperature changed dramatically. Many in St. Louis actually began cheering for Arizona, out of loyalty to the guy playing quarterback.
Now, it’s just a nasty divisional rivalry, and Sunday’s game has huge implications.
The good news: Patrick Peterson is a Ram killer. He has touchdowns in two of four games against St. Louis. He has interceptions in three of four games. Meanwhile, his protégé — Tyrann Mathieu — will likely see a great deal of playing time on Sunday given the Rams’ affinity for three-receiver sets.
It should be a great opportunity for two former Tigers and blood brothers to make an instant impact on the 2013 season.
But here’s where the game will be decided: The Rams were No. 1 in sacking the quarterback last season. The Cardinals were No. 1 in sacks allowed. Carson Palmer is immobile. The revamped offensive line is still a question mark.
Last year, the Cardinals couldn’t protect their QB in St. Louis, and the whole season collapsed under the implications.
On Opening Day 2013, they’ll have a chance to show how much things have changed. Or not.
The above was transcribed from “The Bickley Blast”, heard on The Dan Bickley Show, weekdays from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Arizona Sports 620.