NFL

NFL: Cardinals move to 7-0 for first time since 1970s

Not since the Arizona franchise was still based in St Louis have the Cardinals been undefeated after Week 7 of the NFL season.

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NFL: Arizona Cardinals move to 7-0 for first time since 1970s
Chris Coduto AFP

Before the 2021 NFL season got underway, few would have expected the Arizona Cardinals to be the last remaining unbeaten team, particularly when you consider that they are in the highly competitive NFC West division.

However, after seven weeks of the campaign, the Cardinals are yet to taste defeat and have gone down in the franchise’s history books.

Cardinals are 7-0 for first time since Arizona move

Kliff Kingsbury’s men blew the Houston Texans away 31-5 on Sunday, to move to 7-0 for the first time since 1974, when the Cardinals were still based in St Louis, Missouri (the franchise moved to Glendale, Arizona in 1988).

Judging by the Cardinals’ experience 47 years ago, their fine start to the 2021 season isn’t necessarily a sign that they’ll go far this season. In 1974, at a time when there were still only 14 regular-season games, St Louis finished 10-4 after winning just three of their final seven fixtures, before losing to the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the playoffs.

Curiously, the Cardinals’ best two seasons in the Super Bowl era saw them chalk up the same number of defeats in the first rounds. In 2008, when they reached the Super Bowl, they were at 4-2 after Week 7 (having had one bye) and in 2015, when they made it to the NFC Conference Championship Game, their record was 5-2.

Super Bowl usually eludes NFL's last undefeated team

And a look at NFL history as a whole shows that being the season’s last unbeaten franchise certainly doesn’t guarantee Super Bowl success: in only 15 out of 55 campaigns has that team progressed to the showpiece event.

They are: the Dolphins (1972 and 1984), the Cowboys (1977), the Steelers (1978), the Bears (1985), the Giants (1990), the Redskins (1991), the Broncos (1998), the Eagles (2004), the Colts (2005 and 2009), the Patriots (2007), the Panthers (2015), the Rams (2018) and the 49ers (2019).

Of this group, only eight went on to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy, and the last five to get to the Super Bowl have lost the game.