As I continue my look at the eight teams coming to play one of their NFL regular season games in the UK as part of the NFL London series, I spend a moment looking at the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium. In this post, I also have a quick look at their logo and their gameday uniforms.
Arizona Cardinals Stadium
After spending 18 seasons playing their home games at the University of Arizona stadium, known as Sun Devil Stadium, the Cardinals finally managed to get their own stadium funded, built and finished. The team only intended to stay as guests at the university for a short period but ended up staying for a long time due to a national finance crisis meaning that getting funds together for their desired home after the move from St. Louis was pretty near impossible.
The team moved straight into the modern University of Phoenix Stadium as soon as it was completed in 2006 and still play there today.
It opened originally as Cardinals Stadium but the naming rights were quickly purchased by the local university at a cost of $154.5 million that would see the stadium called the University of Phoenix Stadium for the next 20-years.
The construction of this state-of-the-art arena took 3-years to complete and was started in 2003 at a cost of $445 million. It has a regular capacity of 63,400 but this can be extended by 8,800 when it’s playing host to larger events such as the Super Bowl or college football’s Fiesta Bowl game. The extra seats can be placed at the endzone end of the stadium where the pitch rolls in and out. It also has a retractable “Bird-Air” fabric roof that takes 12-minutes to open and a roll-in roll-out natural grass playing surface.
The team’s logo went through a few changes over the years before it ended up at what we have today. The original logo was made up of two letter C’s with a smaller one sitting inside a larger one. They had this logo for a few years from 1920-1934 once they’d entered the NFL. The larger ‘C’ looks very familiar to me – Chicago Bears anyone? This is the logo they had when they were still in Chicago playing as the Chicago Cardinals. Check out the team’s history in this post.
In 1944 the Cardinals and Steelers merged due to the Second World War claiming many of the players who had to go and fight for the Allies. This meant a reduced number of players available to play and so the merging of the teams was seen as a short-term solution. The newly formed team was known as Card-Pitt and a basic text logo was used for its duration of one season. The Pittsburgh Steelers had actually done this the previous season also when they merged with the Philadelphia Eagles and were known as the Steagles.
As well as 1947 being the year in which the team won the Championship, it was also the year in which the first logo was introduced that displayed a Cardinal bird as per the team’s name. It was a simple design of a Cardinal perched on the laces of a football and the franchise went with this design between 1947-1959.
After the team’s move to St. Louis in 1960, they changed the logo again. This time we saw a cardinal/human hybrid carrying a football whilst running past the St. Louis Arch. This logo was kept from 1960-1969 before they changed again to the first incarnation of the logo we see today. In 1970 they introduced the cardinal’s head logo and kept this design until the present day with slight changes to it now and again. A slight change was made in 1988 when they moved from St. Louis to Phoenix and became the Phoenix Cardinals. They renamed again in 1994 to take in the whole of the state of Arizona and became the Arizona Cardinals with slight colour changes to the logo.
In 2005 the franchise decided to have a brand overhaul which included their logo. This time the changes were to see the cardinal’s head design kept but made into a much sleeker and meaner looking beast. Part of the reason for this decision was that the previously more timid looking design had been called by many “Parakeet”, as it didn’t look very menacing. The design is the one we see on the Arizona Cardinals helmets with bolder colours and a black outline with angrier looking eyes combined with a more aggressive looking beak.
As for the uniform of the Cardinals, not much has changed as is the norm with NFL teams really. They wear the red and white uniforms in various combinations of pants and jerseys depending on whether they are playing at home or away and what the opposition is wearing. The red pants were introduced in 1990 by the head coach, Joe Bugel, who wanted to emulate his former employers the Washington Redskins as they wore red pants at the time. The Redskins have since changed to wearing the yellow pants with all the different jersey colours.
When the franchise moved to the state of Arizona in 1988, the state flag was introduced onto the jersey’s sleeves. Another minor change came in the 2005 brand freshen-up when stripes were added to the jersey sleeves and pants.
A previous change to the uniform happened after the team moved to the hot climate of Arizona. The team started wearing their white jerseys for home games at the open-air Sun Devil Stadium. This was in an attempt to keep their players that little bit cooler whilst the opposition were forced to wear their darker uniforms and therefore run the risk of feeling the effects of the heat sooner and more-so. The team did this for the early part of the season when temperatures were up around the 100°F mark. They stopped doing this once they moved to their new indoor stadium where the roof could be closed to keep the heat out and temperatures down. They went back to wearing their red jerseys for home games at this time.
Up until 2010, the Arizona Cardinals were the only team without a 3rd/alternate jersey. In 2010 they introduced the black jersey to fill this role.