Welcome to Sports in Phoenix! Here we will explore the long and rich history of the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Mercury, Phoenix Suns, Arizona Rattlers, Phoenix Rising FC, Arizona United, Golf Tournaments, and NASCAR.
We’ll start with a brief history of each team and then move on to some of the more recent happenings. So whether you’re a die-hard fan or just looking to learn more about the sports scene in Phoenix, this is the place for you!
The long and rich history of the Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football team based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Cardinals compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference (NFC) West division. The Cardinals were founded as the Morgan Athletic Club in 1898 and are currently the oldest continuously run professional football team in the United States. The team was established in Chicago in 1920 as the Chicago Cardinals, a charter member of the NFL. They lost against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009’s Super Bowl XLIII, 27-23.
The team has played its home games at State Farm Stadium (formerly Cardinal Stadium) in Glendale, Arizona, since 2006. The franchise has won two NFL championships, both while it was based in Chicago. The first occurred in 1925 but is the subject of controversy, with supporters of the Pottsville Maroons believing that Pottsville should have won the title. Their second title and first NFL championship victory following the NFL founding came in 1947.
The Arizona Coyotes
Few professional sports teams have been through as much turmoil as the Arizona Coyotes. The team has been moved twice, had multiple ownership changes, and declared bankruptcy. Despite all this, the Coyotes have remained in the desert since their inception in 1996 and have developed a devoted fanbase.
The team initially started as the Winnipeg Jets, one of the founding teams of the World Hockey Association. The WHA was a rival professional hockey league to the NHL that was established in the 1970s. The Jets were successful in the WHA, winning the Avco World Trophy (the league’s championship) three times. When the WHA merged with the NHL in 1979, the Jets were one of four teams absorbed into the league.
The Jets struggled in their early years in the NHL, but they did make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1981. They ultimately lost to the New York Islanders in four games. The Jets remained in Winnipeg until 1996, when they were sold to Phoenix businessman Jerry Colangelo and relocated to Arizona. Colangelo also owned the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and saw an opportunity to build an arena that could house both teams. The Coyotes began to play in their new home at America West Arena (now Talking Stick Resort Arena) in downtown Phoenix during the 1996-1997 season.
Since moving to Arizona, the Coyotes have been an unsuccessful team on the ice. They’ve only made it to the playoffs seven times and have never advanced past the conference finals. Despite this, they’ve developed a solid fan base thanks to players like Shane Doan (the only player remaining from their first season in Arizona until 2017), goaltender Mike Smith, and young forwards Max Domi and Clayton Keller.
The Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks, based in Phoenix, are a professional baseball team in the Major League Baseball’s (MLB) National League West Division. The team plays its home games at Chase Field, in downtown Phoenix. The “D-backs,” as they are popularly known, won one World Series championship in 2001, becoming the fastest expansion team in Major League history to do so (in only their fourth season of play). They are also one of only two MLB teams to have never lost a World Series game.
The Phoenix Mercury is a professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona, playing in the Western Conference of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The group was founded in 1997 as one of the league’s eight original teams. It is owned by Robert Sarver, who also owns the National Basketball Association (NBA) ‘s Phoenix Suns. Mercury has qualified for the WNBA Playoffs in eleven of its twenty-one years. In 1998, 2007, 2009, and 2014, Phoenix Mercury went to the WNBA Finals. They won the championship in 2007, 2009 and 2014.
The Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns are among the most popular basketball teams in the United States. They have a long and rich history, dating back to 1968, when they were founded as an expansion team. The Suns won two conference titles and one NBA Championship in 1976. They have also been to the NBA Finals on two other occasions, in 1993 and 1995. The Suns play home games at the Talking Stick Resort Arena downtown Phoenix.
The Arizona Rattlers
The Arizona Rattlers are a professional indoor football team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They are currently members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Rattlers began to play in 1992 as an expansion team of the Arena Football League (AFL). They play their home games at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Rattlers were founded in 1992.
Phoenix Rising FC
The Phoenix Rising Football Club is an American professional soccer team based in Phoenix, Arizona. The club participates in the United Soccer League and plays its home games at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium. Phoenix Rising FC is the defending USL Champions.
Founded in 2014 as Arizona United SC, the team began to play in the USL Pro league in the same year. In 2017, the club re-branded as Phoenix Rising FC.
In their inaugural season, the club finished in 9th place out of 14 teams with 12 wins, 12 losses, and 6 draws. They failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Golf is one of the most widely played sports in Phoenix. The city hosts several professional and amateur golf tournaments throughout the year. Some popular events include the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Regions Tradition, and the LPGA Marathon Classic.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open is one of the most significant events on the PGA Tour. It is held yearly at the TPC Scottsdale golf course in late January or early February. The tournament attracts some of the world’s top golfers and tens of thousands of spectators.
The Regions Tradition is a major championship on the Champions Tour (for golfers age 50 and over). It is held annually at different courses around Phoenix. The event was first played in 1989 and has been held at such courses as Desert Mountain, Superstition Mountain, and Centennial Golf Club.
The LPGA Marathon Classic is a women’s professional golf tournament on the LPGA Tour. It is held each year in early May at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale. The tournament was first played in 1992 and won by such golfers as Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, and Se Ri Pak.
NASCAR races are some of the most popular sporting events in the country, and Phoenix is fortunate to be home to one of the tracks. The track, located in Avondale, hosts two NASCAR races each year, the Camping World 500 in the spring and the Can-Am 500 in the fall. NASCAR fans will also want to check out the Copper Basin 300, a short track race held in nearby Prescott Valley.