Longtime NFL announcer and Hall of Fame Cardinals offensive lineman Dan Dierdorf will officially leave the game after 43 years today, when he analyzes the Patriots-Colts playoff game tonight in New England. You can check out a video of Dierdorf’s final thoughts right here. He talks about spending his entire adult life in pro football, 13 as a player and 30 as a broadcaster. To mark the occasion, the Cardinals took time to say goodbye with the ad below, which appeared in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.
Tags: Dan Dierdorf, Hall of Fame
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The press release came out this morning, announcing that Dan Dierdorf was finally stepping away from the NFL. Dierdorf is best known to many as a TV color analyst for NFL games — he’s done it for 30 years — but he left his mark as a Hall of Fame offensive tackle for this franchise as an anchor to some great offensive lines for 13 years.
“I have been blessed to spend my entire life in the game I love,” Dierdorf said in the press release.
Drafted out of Michigan in 1971 — a second-round pick — Dierdorf ended up playing center too on the line, but was mostly on the right side as he made six Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro three times. He retired after the 1983 season and made it into the Hall of Fame in 1996. He was also inducted into the Cardinals’ Ring of Honor, with a ceremony (pictured below) during halftime of the infamous Monday night game against the Bears in 2006.
Dierdorf was part of a line that allowed a mere eight sacks in all of 1975, an amazingly low total. Dierdorf was also credited for allowing zero sacks personally in two different seasons: 1976 and 1977.
What always struck me about Dierdorf was his loyalty to the franchise, even after it moved to Arizona. Last year, Dierdorf was talking about the Cardinals after they started 2-0, since he had been part of the last Cards’ team to start 3-0 (back in 1974), and emphasized he was rooting for the Cards.
“I’ll be thrilled for them,” Dierdorf said last year. “I’ll be very happy. People in St. Louis might think I was a traitor but they’ll have to deal with that. I’m proud of the fact that I’m in the Ring of Honor out there. They’re my team.”
Tags: Dan Dierdorf
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The University of Pittsburgh announced yesterday that it would be retiring the No. 1 jersey in honor of Larry Fitzgerald’s tenure as a Panther, a pretty remarkable achievement when you consider Fitz played just two seasons in college. (Because Fitz went to prep school for a year after high school to improve his grades, he was able to go to the NFL after his true sophomore season.) Fitzgerald was a beast in college. In his final Pitt season in 2003, despite playing for a Pitt team with limited weapons and drawing all the attention of every opponent, Fitz had 92 catches for 1,672 yards (for an 18.2 avg.) and 22 touchdowns. Guess being the No. 3 pick overall was kind of a no-brainer, even if it meant passing on some quarterbacks that turned out to be pretty good themselves.
No word in the announcement, by the way, when the jersey retiring will take place. (And, as a side note, when talking to Larry Fitzgerald Sr. last year for a Fitz story I was working on, he said his son thought about not going to Pitt but Michigan State. “He thought real hard,” Fitzgerald Sr. said, “because his girlfriend was there.”)
Anyway, Fitz’s number being retired usually brings up the secondary question: Would, somewhere down the road, the Cardinals retire No. 11? The answer is probably not. And it doesn’t have anything to do with how great Fitzgerald’s career ends up.
The Cardinals simply don’t retire many numbers. They put players in the Ring of Honor, which doesn’t take their jersey number off the market. Hall of Famers like Dan Dierdorf and Roger Wehrli are in the Ring of Honor yet their Nos. 72 and 22, respectively, have been worn often (of late, Brandon Keith and currently DE Everrette Thompson have had 72 and 22 has been worn by Duane Starks, Emmitt Smith and, today, CB Bryan McCann.)
The Cardinals have retired five jersey numbers since the organization started in 1898. Hall of Fame safety Larry Wilson (8), all-around star back and war hero Marshall Goldberg (99), safety/war hero Pat Tillman (40), and two players who died while on the roster, tight end J.V. Cain (88) and tackle Stan Mauldin (77). There are 13 people in the team’s Ring of Honor, including Wilson, Tillman and Goldberg but not Cain or Mauldin. That RoH number will rise when safety Adrian Wilson goes in, and I’d expect Fitz to be there someday as well. He just might not be able to take 11 with him, at least not permanently.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Brandon Keith, Bryan McCann, Dan Dierdorf, Duane Starks, Emmitt Smith, Everrette Thompson, J.V. Cain, Larry Fitzgerald, Larry Wilson, Marshall Goldberg, Pat Tillman, Ring of Honor, Roger Wehrli, Stan Mauldin
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And now, we take a brief breather on free-agency debate …
The NFL and NFL.com are putting together, for the draft, the greatest 75 draft picks of all time, with fans getting a chance to vote. Each of the 32 franchises had 10 players selected as nominees, which not only had to be good players but bring value to whatever round they were chosen (so does, for example Aeneas Williams in the third round mean more than Peyton Manning first overall?). The list coincides with the 75th NFL draft.
The 10 best Cardinals’ draft picks chosen were (in alphabetical order): wide receiver Anquan Boldin, tackle Dan Dierdorf (pictured below blocking for Jim Ottis), wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver/defensive back Roy Green, safety Tim McDonald, tight end Jackie Smith, running back Charlie Trippi, cornerback Roger Wehrli, Williams, and safety Larry Wilson.
Players are pitted, randomly, in head-to-head matchups and fans vote (through April 18th). Picks 11 through 75 will be unveiled on NFL.com and the NFL Network from April 19-22, with the top 10 unveiled in the network’s draft coverage April 22. Don’t forget the draft is over three days this year. The first round is Thursday night, April 22. The second and third rounds are on Friday night, April 23. And the final four rounds are Saturday, April 24.
Tags: Aeneas Williams, Anquan Boldin, Charlie Trippi, Dan Dierdorf, draft, Jackie Smith, Larry Fitzgerald, Larry Wilson, Roy Green, Tim McDonald
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