Nov 1, 2022 - Sports
Glendale LVII

Glendale LVII: Why the Cardinals are Arizona, not Phoenix

A Cardinals NFL helmet sitting on a sideline.

Photo: Norm Hall/Getty Images

Out of 32 teams in the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals are one of just five not named after a city.

Flashback: The club actually did go by the Phoenix Cardinals when they moved to the Valley from St. Louis in 1988, though the Cards never played in the city of Phoenix.

  • They were supposed to play at ASU's Sun Devil Stadium on a temporary basis until a stadium was built in Phoenix, but the savings and loan crisis of the 1990s derailed their plans and they stayed in Tempe for 18 years.
  • They moved to their current stadium in Glendale in 2006.

What happened: In 1994, owner Bill Bidwill announced he planned to change the team name to the Arizona Cardinals, and the NFL owners unanimously approved the change.

The intrigue: Arizonans have generally accepted the "Arizona" part of the team name, but every few years people get worked up about the "Cardinals" part, since the Valley isn't really known for that bird species.

🤓 Jessica here: As a former Desert Botanical Garden teen volunteer, I feel compelled to share that we do have cardinals in the desert.

  • Arizona is one of three western states where northern cardinals (the bright red ones like the mascot) have been spotted, according to the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Phoenix stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more