By Alistair Fannell
I grew up as a St. Louis Football Cardinals fan back in the late 70’s on to the 80’s. Though time in time the team owned by Bill Bidwill constantly put together a terrible football team. There was some good moments in the mid 70’s hey-day of the Cardiac Cardinals coached they Don Coryell but were never able to get to the Super Bowl. Then the team went through a downward spiral in the 80’s. With the exception of the 1982 strike shorten season which the Cards made the playoffs, the team was never able to match the great teams of the mid-70’s and soon the team were playing their football games in smaller crowds. So when Bidwill ask for new stadium, in Maryland Heights MO., that was proposed by St. Louis County executive Gene McNary then St. Louis Mayor Vincent Schoemehl and city leaders balked on the idea and told the owner to take a hike. Even though Bidwill had reservation about moving his franchise to Phoenix, Arizona he made up his mind and moved the team after the NFL owners approved the moved on March of 1988. At the time of the move Bidwill was quoted as saying, ” This is a very hard time for me, but you can’t fight city hall.”
While St. Louis would get another NFL team when the Rams left Los Angeles after the 1994, the move to allow the Football Cardinals to leave, would prove to be one of the the biggest mistakes for the city and the region. Same politicians which included Mayor Schoemehl who told Bidwill to hit the road, tried in vain to keep the Rams in St. Louis which was owned by a fellow Missourian smooth talker named Enos Stanely Kroenke, who sadly trashed the city and move the team back to Los Angeles. Yes the Rams won the Super Bowl trophy for St. Louis in 1999 and made another Super Bowl both before losing the New England Patriots in 2002. But sadly it wasn’t worth it, once Georgia Frontiere who was the owner of the Rams died in 2008. Kroenke took over as sole ownership of the Rams in 2010 and didn’t want the team in St. Louis, while Bill Bidwill wanted to stay, which goes back to Mayor Vincent Schoelmehl decision to let Bidwill move the Cardinals to Arizona. Yes the team sucked on the field and Bidwill was a terrible owner, but given how pitiful the team was the NFL today reign supreme as the dominant Sports League in America. Also when the Dome of America was completed in 1995 for the Rams, the place that was suppose to host Super Bowl today looks like a Relic, compare to the new football stadiums that are built with high price luxury seats and a better view of the of the field, however the Cardinals would had played their had the it been completed a few years back. They might have asked if the Dome could be renovated some 20 years later or ask for a new stadium which they would had gotten under the new owner Michael Bidwill, Bill’s son. Coincidently the Cardinals had to wait another 18 years to get a new stadium in that was completed in 2005. Vincent Schoelmehl should had supported the new stadium in Maryland Heights, MO where now you have the casino and the Amphitheater, but pride and arrogance from the former Mayor costed St. Louis for generation. Sure Major League Soccer will be kicking off in the new downtown soccer stadium in 2023, there’s a great chance that the XFL will also return to the Dome in 2023 and yes St. Louis settle $800 million dollar lawsuit against the NFL and Stan Kroenke, but face it my fellow St Louisian’s, the NFL will probably never return again thanks to Vincent Schoelmehl who told Bill Bidwill to hit the road.