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1996 Arizona Cardinals season

1996 Arizona Cardinals season
Head coach Vince Tobin
Owner Bill Bidwill
Home field Sun Devil Stadium
Record 7-9
Division place 4th NFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify
Previous season      Next season
< 1995      1997 >

The 1996 Arizona Cardinals season was the 77th season the team was in the league and 9th in Arizona. The team improved upon their previous output of 4-12, winning seven games.[1] Despite the improvement, the Cardinals failed to qualify to the playoffs for the fourteenth consecutive season.

The low point of the season was providing a notorious New York Jets team with its only win in front of less than thirty thousand people. This was, amazingly, the first time the Cardinals had opposed the Jets since 1978.[2] The reason for this is that before the admission of the Texans in 2002, NFL scheduling formulas for games outside a team’s division were much more influenced by table position during the previous season.[3]


NFL Draft



1996 Arizona Cardinals staff
Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

  • Offensive Coordinator – Jim Fassel
  • Running Backs – Jim Skipper
  • Wide Receivers – Vic Rapp
  • Tight Ends/Quality Control – Geep Chryst
  • Offensive Line – Carl Mauck

Defensive Coaches

Special Teams Coaches

  • Special Teams – Al Everest

Strength and Conditioning

  • Strength and Conditioning – Bob Rogucki


Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Notes Attendance
1 September 1, 1996 at Indianapolis Colts L 13-20 Boomer Esiason ran in a two-yard touchdown
2 September 8, 1996 Miami Dolphins L 10-38 Kent Graham replaced Esiason
3 September 15, 1996 at New England Patriots L 0-31 Cardinals held to 170 yards
4 September 22, 1996 at New Orleans Saints W 28-14 Kent Graham won despite only 165 passing yards
5 September 29, 1996 St. Louis Rams W 31-28 (OT) First meeting with Rams since move to St. Louis
6 Bye
7 October 13, 1996 at Dallas Cowboys L 3-17 Graham sacked three times
8 October 20, 1996 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 13-9 Larry Centers caught a five-yard touchdown
9 October 27, 1996 New York Jets L 21-31 Only win of the season for the Jets
10 November 3, 1996 at New York Giants L 8-16 Boomer Esiason returned and threw two interceptions
11 November 10, 1996 at Washington Redskins W 37-34 Boomer Esiason broke 500 yards passing in the game
12 November 17, 1996 New York Giants W 31-23 Cardinals forced two fumbles and two interceptions
13 November 24, 1996 Philadelphia Eagles W 36-30 Esiason threw three touchdowns; both teams combined for 37 4th-quarter points
14 December 1, 1996 at Minnesota Vikings L 17-41 Esiason had two interceptions
15 December 8, 1996 Dallas Cowboys L 6-10 Leeland McElroy rushed for 90 yards
16 December 15, 1996 Washington Redskins W 27-26 Kevin Butler kicked game-winning field goal in final seconds
17 December 22, 1996 at Philadelphia Eagles L 19-29 Cardinals scored two 4th-quarter touchdowns


NFC East
Dallas Cowboys 10 6 0 .625 286 250
Philadelphia Eagles 10 6 0 .625 363 341
Washington Redskins 9 7 0 .563 364 312
Arizona Cardinals 7 9 0 .438 300 397
New York Giants 6 10 0 .375 242 297


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