Just eight weeks into the regular season and the Los Angeles Rams had already seen the last of the San Francisco 49ers. The schedule makers were not kind this year with near back-to-back games against Sean McVay’s kryptonite, and as a result, Rams fans’ confidence in the team is possibly at the lowest it has been since the boy genius came to town.
With the 49ers in the rearview mirror, the next divisional foe coming up on the schedule is the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10.
In recent years, Los Angeles has done to the Cardinals what the 49ers have done to the Rams—destroyed them in an embarrassing fashion and sent the fan base scouring the earth for answers, but it has not always been like this. Like the history between LA and San Francisco, there is a rich past worth exploring between the two NFC West competitors.
77 years ago today (Sept. 30), the Cleveland Rams opened the 1945 season with a 21-0 win over the Chicago Cardinals at League Park. QB Bob Waterfield threw for a touchdown, ran for another, and kicked all three extra points. The Rams finished 9-1 and won the NFL championship. pic.twitter.com/vjuCpk2bCo— League Park (@LeagueParkCle) September 30, 2022
LA’s current head-to-head record: 48-39-2
The two first faced each other in in 1937 when LA was the Cleveland Rams and Arizona was known as the Chicago Cardinals in what was the NFL Western division. Their first matchup, nearly 85 years ago, was won by the Cardinals in a low-scoring dogfight 6-0. For 14 years they would see each other twice a year but realignment in the league, especially after the NFL-AFL merger, put a hold on the developing rivalry between the two.
That is until a restructure of the divisions in 2002 put the Cardinals in the NFC West. The Rams went on a losing spree against Arizona that went on for the course of four years, losing eight games in a row from 2006-2010. Since returning to Los Angeles, the Rams have flipped the script on the Cardinals, winning eight games from 2017-2021 and devastating Arizona in the playoffs just last year 34-11.
The Rock hit the tequila pretty quick after the Kyler Murray interception, while Eli was letting out some kind of noise pic.twitter.com/bpOXDb6Lb6— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) January 18, 2022
The two organizations will forever be tied together thanks to the brilliance and success of Kurt Warner in the 2000s. Warner took the Rams to the Super Bowl twice in his six years with them, winning one of them in 1999 and losing the other to Tom Brady in 2001. In 2008 he also took Arizona to its first Super Bowl in team history, but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in what was one of the most competitive championship games of all time.
RIP, John Madden. Football icon. Hard to imagine anyone having more of an impact on the NFL than he did.— Trent (@RedSeaTrent) December 29, 2021
Here’s a clip of Madden breaking down Larry Fitzgerald’s go ahead score in Super Bowl 43. pic.twitter.com/WgQfopmOe7
The connection between the franchises has created a rare sight on game day when the two play each other as both fan bases often adorn the same jersey just in a different color.
You will likely not find anyone arguing that the Rams-Cardinals rivalry is one of the best in football, but it is very much a developing one. The two have not seen each other much in meaningful games with only two playoff matchups (one in 1975, the other in 2021) and have had varying levels of success at different times with the most competitive season happening just last year. The history between the two teams may be one of the oldest, it is still newly developing, but in the future could become much bigger than it is now.
What do you think of the rivalry between the two teams? Where would you rank them? Let’s discuss in the comments below!