Founded - Morgan Athletic Club:
The professional football league we now know as the NFL didn't begin play until 1920, but the Cardinals franchise
has been around since long before then. They were founded as an amateur operation, the Morgan Athletic Club, by painter/builder Chris O'Brien in 1898. The franchise originally operated out of Chicago.
Name Change - Racine Normals:
The Cardinals, or Morgan Athletic Club as they were known at the time, moved into Normal Stadium in 1899, which was located on Chicago's Racine Avenue, which prompted O'Brien to rename the club the Racine Normals. The new moniker, however, lasted just a couple years.
Name Change - Racine Cardinals:
The nickname of Cardinals was officially adopted in 1901 after the team started wearing uniforms inherited from the University of Chicago. The faded maroon color prompted O'Brien to label them as "Cardinal Red", thus the Cardinals moniker was born.
The Racine Cardinals disbanded in 1906 due to a lack of competition in the area. They reformed, however, in 1913. They were forced to suspend operations once again in 1918 because of World War I, but resumed operations later in the year and have continued non-stop since.
Name Change - Chicago Cardinals:
In 1920, the franchise became a charter member of the American Professional Football Association, which two years later would be re-named the National Football League. The Cardinals also, in 1922, had a name change of their own. To avoid the confusion that was generated by the addition of a team from Racine, Wisconsin (the Horlick-Racine Legion), Chicago Cardinals was officially adopted.
Note: Because many NFL players enlisted during World War II, the Cardinals joined forces with the Pittsburgh Steelers to play as one team in 1944. The team was called was called Card-Pitt.
Location Change - St. Louis, Missouri:
Despite spending their entire existence in Chicago and winning two NFL championships (1925, 1947), the Cardinals fell on hard times and slipped into a status as the city's "other" team behind the favored Bears
. Their attendance dwindled and financial hardships resulted. The team petitioned the league to move out of Chicago, and, in 1960, they moved away from the shadow of the Monsters of the Midway, south to St. Louis where they, of course, changed their name to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Location Change - Phoenix, Arizona:
After 28 rather lackluster seasons in St. Louis, the Cardinals had qualified for the postseason just three times. Their lack of success on the field, combined with an aging stadium, led to a decline in attendance, which fueled the Bidwills to move the team again. This time, after debating between Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Phoenix, the franchise loaded the trucks and headed west, where they began play in 1988 as the Phoenix Cardinals.
Name Change - Arizona Cardinals:
In 1994, in an effort to appeal to a larger fan base, owner Bill Bidwill announced his plan to change the name of the team to the Arizona Cardinals. The change was adopted unanimously by a vote of NFL owners.