The Arizona Cardinals were originated as the Chicago Cardinals in 1920 and became a part of the NFL in 1922. The team then was known as the St. Louis Cardinals from 1960-1988. In 1988 the team moved to Phoenix, but changed their name for the final time in 1994 to what we know them as today the Arizona Cardinals. They only appeared in one Super Bowl in 2008-09 season and lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cardinals have retired five numbers during their team’s history. Here is the starting lineup made up of the best player to play in an Arizona Cardinals jersey.
QB: Jim Hart (1966-83)
The Arizona Cardinals have never had a star quarterback on their roster during the prime of their career. In recent years the only star quarterbacks that Arizona had were Carson Palmer and Kurt Warner. Both only spent five years with the team and Arizona was the last team they played for before retiring. Jim Hart is the franchise leader in passing yards, completions, passing touchdowns and wins. So it is only fair that Hart is the quarterback for the Cardinals All-Time team. Though Hart isn’t considered one of the best in the history of the league, he does have an impressive resume. Hart was a four-time Pro Bowler, Second Team All-Pro in 1974 and a member of the Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor.
RB: Ottis Anderson (1979-86)
The All-Time leading rusher for the Arizona Cardinals is Ottis Anderson with 7,999 yards. Anderson had an amazing start to his career winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, being named to the Pro Bowl and a First-Team All-Pro in his rookie season. The next year Anderson was also a Pro Bowler and was a part of the Second-Team All-Pro. Overall Anderson had a lot of success throughout his career, especially after his time with the Cardinals ended where he won two Super Bowls and a Super Bowl MVP during his time with the New York Giants. Another consideration for this position was Stump Mitchell who is the second leading rusher and second in all-purpose yards in franchise history.
WR: Larry Fitzgerald (2004-Present), Roy Green (1979-90)
It is hard to argue that Larry Fitzgerald is the greatest Arizona Cardinal ever. He is the franchise’s all-time leading receiver by almost over 10,000 yards. Fitzgerald almost has double the number of touchdowns as the player with the second-highest receiving touchdown leader in franchise history. He is an 11-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, two-time league receptions and touchdown leader. Fitzgerald was also named to the NFL 100th anniversary Team and 2010’s All-Decade Team. Fitzgerald has 40 All-Time Cardinals franchise records and has the second-most receiving yards in league history with 17,083 yards.
The player who is number two to Fitzgerald in seemingly all receiving records in Cardinals’ franchise history is Roy Green. Green had a great career with the Cardinals playing in two Pro Bowls, being named a First-Team All-Pro in 1983 and 1984. He led the league in receiving yards in 1984 and is a member of the Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor. Green is only behind Fitzgerald with 8496 receiving yards and 66 Touchdowns.
TE: Jackie Smith (1963-77)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 1994
Many might know Jackie Smith from his dropped Super Bowl pass during Super Bowl XIII. Smith dropped a sure touchdown pass from Roger Staubach that sealed the victory for the Pittsburgh Steelers. People remember Smith as being called “The Sickest Man in America”. But before that Smith was an extremely successful career with the Arizona Cardinals. He was a five-time Pro Bowler between 1963-1977 and was four-time Second-Team All-Pro between 1966-1969. Smith retired as the all-time leading receiver amongst tight ends and held that record until it was broken by Ozzie Newsome in 1990.
LT: Duke Slater (1926-31)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 2020
Duke Slater may not be a household name, but he was one of the best tackles in football during his time. Slater was a five-time First-Team All-Pro and two-time Second-Team All-Pro during his career. But his biggest achievement is that he was one of the first African Americans to play on a current NFL franchise. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and soon will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. An honorable consideration at tackle Ernie McMillan who played for the Cardinals between 1961-74 and was voted to two Pro Bowls.
LG: Irv Goode (1962-71)
Irv Goode played 10 years for the Cardinals’ franchise. During that time he was a two-time Pro Bowler. Goode was a Pro Bowler in 1964 and 1967. He later on went on to win a Super Bowl with the Miami Dolphins in the 1973-74 season.
C: Tom Banks (1971-80)
Tom Banks was an Eighth round draft pick by the Cardinals in 1970. During his time with the team, he was named to four Pro Bowls, from 1975-1978. Banks also was an All-Pro in 1976.
RG: Ken Gray (1958-69)
Ken Gray was a six-time Pro Bowler during his time with the Cardinals. He also was a two-time All-Pro and was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade 1960’s team. He is considered one of the best guards to play during his time.
RT: Dan Dierdorf (1971-83)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 1996
One of the best right tackles ever to play the game is Dan Dierdorf. He was a six-time Pro Bowler, five-time First-Team All-Pro and Second-Team All-Pro in 1974. Dierdorf is a member of the 1970’s All-Decade Team and both the Pro Football and College Football Hall of Fame. He also didn’t give up a single sack between 1976-1977.
DE: Calais Campbell (2008-16), Simeon Rice (1996-2000)
Calais Campbell was a staple to the Cardinals’ defense for a long time. During his time with the team, he went to two Pro Bowls and was a Second Team All-Pro twice. After he left the team he went to three more Pro Bowls, was named a Second-Team All-Pro again and First-Team All-Pro once. Campbell also was voted the Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. There is an argument that Campbell was more successful after his time in Arizona, but he has the fifth most sacks in team history with 56.5 and first in tackles for loss with 107. Play like this earned Campbell a spot on the 2010’s All-Decade team as well.
Simeon Rice did not play for the Cardinals long, but he was extremely dominant during his time with them. In his first year, Rice won Defensive Rookie of the Year. In 1999 Rice was voted to the Pro Bowl. Rice has 51.5 sacks which is fourth in franchise history. Rice eventually left the Cardinals and won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
DT: Darnell Dockett (2004-14)
The duo of Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett was one of the best defensive line groups in football. Darnell Dockett was a three-time Pro Bowler during his time in Arizona and a Second Team All-Pro in 2009. He has 40.5 career sacks which is eighth in franchise history and has the second-most tackles for loss in team history with 90. Another dominant defensive tackle who played for the Cardinals was Eric Swann who played for them between 1991-2000 and had a very nice career.
EDGE: Chandler Jones (2016-Present), Freddie Joe Nunn (1985-93)
Since getting traded to the Cardinals Chandler Jones has become known as one of the best defenders in the league. In a short period of time Jones has already become one of the best defenders in team history. He has the second-most sacks in team history with 60. Jones has also been to two Pro Bowls, been named a First-Team All-Pro two times and is a member of the 2010’s All-Decade team. Before his time in Arizona, Jones won a Super Bowl with the Patriots and went the Pro Bowl. In 2017 Jones led the league in sacks with 17.
Freddie Joe Nunn’s 66.5 sacks lead the Cardinals franchise, so there was no way he wasn’t making this list. He is eighth in team history in tackles. He did not earn any major accolades during his time with the team, but has the franchise sack record. That is until Chandler Jones likely passes him this upcoming season.
LB: Eric Hill (1989-97), Karlos Dansby (2004-09, 2013, and 2017)
Eric Hill is the Cardinals’ franchise leader in solo tackles with 785. He was drafted 10th overall in 1989. Hill has over 1,000 career tackles over his 11-year carer.
Karlos Dansby is one of the few players in NFL history to have three separate terms with one team. Dansby was a Second Team All-Pro in 2013 and is one of five players to be in the 40 sacks/20 interception club. He is fourth in team history in tackles with 633 and tackles for loss with 77.
CB: Aeneas Williams (1991-2000), Dick “Night Train” Lane (1954-59), Patrick Peterson (2011-Present)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 2014 (Williams)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 1974 (Lane)
The Arizona Cardinals have such a history of great cornerback play it was hard to pick just two. Aeneas Williams is arguably the greatest cornerback in the history of the team. Williams was a six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro during his time with the Cardinals. During his time with the Rams he went to two more Pro Bowls and was a First-team All-Pro. He is a member of the 1990’s All-Decade team, Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor and Pro Football Hall of Fame. Williams is second in interceptions in team history with 46, first in pick-sixes with six and sixth in tackles with 499.
Dick “Night Train” Lane is considered one of the greatest cornerbacks of all time. In his rookie season, Lane broke the record for most interceptions in a single season with 14, a record that still holds today. Lane went to four Pro Bowls, was named to three All-Pro teams and led the league in interceptions in 1954 with the Cardinals. Throughout his entire career, he went to seven Pro Bowls, was a seven-time All-Pro and was a two-time interception leader. Lane has been apart of the 1950’s All-Decade team, NFL’s 50th, 75th and 100th-anniversary teams, and Cardinals ring of honor.
Though he is the only one of the three that is not in the Hall of Fame, Patrick Peterson not only good enough to make this list, but good enough to one day be a member of the Hall of Fame. Peterson has been voted to eight Pro Bowls and has been a First Team All-Pro three-times. He is currently seventh in team history in interceptions with 25. Peterson was also named to the 2010’s All-Decade Team. He is a while to go and by the time he retires Peterson will have cemented his place as one of the best players to play for the Cardinals if he hasn’t already.
S: Larry Wilson (1960-72), Adrian Wilson (2001-12)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 1978 (L. Wilson)
Retired #8 (L.Wilson)
Larry Wilson is considered by many to be the greatest defender the Cardinals have ever had. He is an eight-time Pro Bowler and seven-time All-Pro. Larry Wilson won defensive player of the year also for leading the league in interceptions in 1966. Wilson is the Cardinals all-time interception leader with 52 and second in team history in pick-sixes. Wilson has his number retired by the team. He also is a member of the 1960’s and 1970’s All-Decade team. Not to mention the NFL’s 75th and 100th-anniversary team and the Cardinals Ring of Honor.
Adrian Wilson is not as accomplished as Larry Wilson, but he did have a great career. Wilson was a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, a member of the 25 sacks/25 interception club and the Cardinals Ring of Honor. Wilson is second in team history in tackles with 730, third in tackles for loss with 81 and sixth in interceptions with 27. Wilson is a member of the Cardinals Ring of Honor and has a valid case for the Hall of Fame one day. Wilson is still currently involved with the Cardinals as an executive. He is the Director of Pro Scouting.
K: Jim Bakken (1962-78)
Jim Bakken is the Cardinals all-time leading scorer. He was such a reliable kicker that he was named to the NFL’s 1960’s and 1970’s All-Decade Teams.
P: Rich Camarillo (1989-93)
Rich Camarillo was a four-time Pro Bowler during his time with the Cardinals. He has the second most punting yards in team history with 15,114. He is only behind Scott Player in that category.
HC: Bruce Arians (2013-17)
During Bruce Arians’ time as head coach he won more games than any other coach in the third most games coached in team history. The current Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach had the Cardinals looking like contenders for multiple years before he retired in 2017. The only blemish on his resume was that he was 1-2 in the playoff games he coached in. Arians has the second-most playoff games appeared in only to Ken Whisenhunt.