The Cardinals started the 2016 season with a major league-high 100 wins, their third straight National League Central division title, and their fifth consecutive postseason berth. Their 2015 season ended in the National League Division Series (NLDS), when they were eliminated in four games by the rival Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals returned most of their key players from that team, including MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt, who led the team with 42 homers and 107 RBIs.
In the World Series, the Cardinals played against the popularly favored Cleveland Indians, whom they had defeated in five games in the AL Championship Series. The Indians dominated game one at home, defeating the Cardinals 4-1. But in game two, which was held at Cleveland's Progressive Field, the Indians could not solve rookie Michael Wacha, who threw a complete-game victory for St. Louis. The last time these teams met was in 2005, when the Cardinals eliminated the Indians from the playoffs with a win in game six of the World Series at Busch Stadium II.
The Cardinals went on to defeat the Texas Rangers in seven games to claim their second world championship. They are the first team to repeat as champs since the New York Yankees accomplished the feat in 2001 and 2003.
Paul Goldschmidt won the National League MVP Award after hitting.297 with 42 homers and 97 RBIs.
The franchise's most recent playoff club was the 2015 Cardinals, and the overtime thriller five years ago was the last time it won a postseason game. Since then, the Cardinals have gone 8-8 twice, with the 2020 team getting the closest to returning to the playoffs. They missed out by one game this year.
The NFL's oldest active player is quarterback Brad Johnson, who turned 39 in January. He played for the Cardinals from 2004-06 before moving on to the Minnesota Vikings. Second only to Johnson on the roster is running back David Johnson, who will be turning 32 during the season. He's been with the Cardinals since 2011 after spending nine seasons with the Chicago Bears.
Three of the first four players chosen in the 2005 NFL Draft were drafted by the Cardinals: first round (9th overall) - Adrian Peterson, running back from Oklahoma; second round (47th overall) - Levi Brown, offensive guard from North Carolina; third round (71st overall) - Darnell Dockett, defensive end from Arkansas State.
Dockett went on to win the Ed Block Courage Award in 2012 as part of the league's annual performance awards. The honor is given to a player who has shown courage on the field by engaging an opponent against his will to ensure that play continues.
2015 The franchise's most recent playoff club was the 2015 Cardinals, and the overtime thriller five years ago was the last time it won a postseason game.
Prior to that, the last time the Cardinals went to the playoffs was in 2005 when they defeated the Chicago Bears 24-14 in the first round before being eliminated by the Detroit Lions in the next round 21-7.
The franchise's all-time leading scorer, Larry Wilson, who played for the Cardinals from 1971 to 1985, can claim victory in the most dramatic of ways as he died on January 6, 2006 at the age of 53 after a heart attack he suffered while playing golf. He is one of only two players in NFL history to score both touchdowns in a playoff game (the other is Eric Dickerson).
Wilson's number 10 has been retired throughout the Cardinals' organization and is worn exclusively by defensive players.
During World War II, the Cardinals competed as the St. Louis Rams because there were no other teams in the city. When football returned in 1946, several former Rams joined the newly established Cardinals and the two teams have shared resources ever since.