Let’s take a brief look into the cardinal past performances and see where their headed in the years to come. Are they going to climb to the top or fall on their faces? Let’s see. In 2000, The Cardinals take a step back to terrible old habits as they have a horrible 3-13 season. This was their worst since they came to Arizona. The Cardinals would come into the public’s eye with their most important challenge of the season getting a bond for a new stadium Maricopa County. If the voters had discarded the bond issue the Cardinals could have to relocate against their will.
In 2001, once again the Cardinals get off to a terrible beginning at 2-6, as their offense only manages to score 20 points twice; it was the 2 games they won. The highlight of the season's first half was their stunning come behind win in Philadelphia against the Eagles, which was capped by a Hail Mary pass from Jake Plummer to MarTay Jenkins. The second half would change for them as the Cardinals show their strengths and their offense began to play well. The Cardinals ran out 3 straight wins highlighted by a stunning OT win in Oakland vs. the Raiders. The Cardinals won 5 of 7. Although, a loss in Washington to the Redskins would call an end to the Cardinals season at 7-9. Pat Tillman would leave the Cardinals and sign up with the US Army Special Forces. Tillman was killed in a fire fight near the Afghan-Pakistan border.
In 2002, Under NFL relocation the Cardinals are finally went to the NFC West, 15 years after they went to Arizona. At first the Cardinals took a liking to their new surroundings as they stood in first place after a 4-2 start. However, reality would hit the Cardinals as they lost their next 6 games while winning just 1 game the rest of the season to finish in last place. (Ouch! No lucky streaks on their part.) They had a terrible record of 5-11. As the season continued the Cardinals were given a hard punch by a free agency causing a couple of their good players to leave including QB Jake Plummer and WR David Boston.
In 2003, even though the team was not doing well the Cardinals had a happy moment because of the signing of All-Time leading rusher Emmitt Smith. Rumor had it that Smith was getting up in age and he fought all year rushing for just 256 yards in an injury overwhelming year.
The Cardinals were at the bottom again losing 5 of their first 6 games. After 2 straight wins improved them to 3-5 the Cardinals tried hard but lost their next 7 games as they entered the final game of the season against the Minnesota Vikings with a 3-12 record.
In the 4th Quarter the Cardinals looked like they were going to lose the game. But surprisingly, QB Josh McCown who established himself as the QB of the future at the end of the season led an amazing comeback hitting Nathan Poole on a 28-yard game winning TD pass on the final play of the game to give the Cards a 18-17 win on the final play of the game to kick the Vikings out of the playoffs. Coach Dave McGinnis's got the boot after a 4-12 season. However one bright spot would be Rookie WR Anquan Boldin who captured the offensive rookie of the year award with 1,377 receiving yards.
In 2004, Coach Dennis Green took over the job as coach. They lost their first 3 games, including a Week 2 game against the New England Patriots. The Cardinals would finally get their first win for Coach Green in Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints. The Cardinals showed improvement and would show some potential winning 3 of their next 4 games, but it would be short-lived, as QB Josh McCown was benched as the Cardinals went on a 4-game losing streak which included a 2nd overtime loss to the 49ers. They become the only team the 2-14 team would beat during the season.
The Cardinals would go on to finish the season strong winning 2 of their last 3 games to finish with a 6-10 record, as their were small signs of progress all around, as Rookie WR Larry Fitzgerald had 8 TDs with 780 yards receiving to give them a sold duo at wideout. Meanwhile the Cardinals saw the end of a legend as Emmitt Smith rushed 937 yards with a team high 9 TDs before retiring.
Now in 2005 they have a new stadium as planned. They wanted it done this year but it looks like it will be ready to open next year. The Cardinals are on the threshold of becoming a NFL contender. However in a bad division they get there early as QB Kurt Warner does well as the Cardinals win the division over the Rams who are too old, the 49ers who are too young and the Seahawks who don't try.