Bad day

Finding your way into the National Football League Record Book isn’t always rewarding. Such is the case of one of the longest standing league records. Jim Hardy holds the dubious distinction of being the only quarterback in NFL history to throw eight interceptions in a single game.  To make matters worse, he also had two fumbles that day.

The game came on the season opener for Hardy and his Cardinals in 1950 as the team hosted the defending World Champion Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 24. The ominous outing might have been predicted as Hardy’s day started off on a bad note. He and teammates Charley Trippi and Mal Kutner were involved in a car accident on the way to the stadium that morning. Fortunately, the players were not hurt. Trippi and Kutner jumped into a cab to get to the stadium while Hardy stayed back to fill out the police report. He arrived at the stadium just in time for the kickoff. So, he took his first snap as the starting quarterback during game action having missed all of warm-up.

Hardy’s long day started off almost immediately when his second pass attempt was picked off. He went into the locker room at halftime having thrown three picks and the Cardinals trailed the Eagles, 31-0.

“I can still remember sitting on the bench in the dressing room with my head in my hands thinking that nothing could be worse than three interceptions in one half. Little did I know that I would have five more,” Hardy once shared.
Hardy fumbled the first snap of the second half and then really became unraveled when he threw the first of five second half interceptions on the next possession. The onslaught continued but there was no rest for Hardy. He received a brief reprieve when he was pulled from the game midway through the fourth quarter. However, his backup Frank Tripucka  only lasted three plays before being helped off the field with an injury and Hardy was inserted back into the game.

In all, Philadelphia capitalized on the miscues by converting both fumbles and three of the interceptions into points as they cruised to a 45-7 victory before 24,914 disgruntled fans at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. Hardy’s infamous day ended with a horrific stat line that included almost as many of his 39 attempts ending up in Eagles hands than Cardinals receivers. He completed just 12 passes.

Proving the season opener was a fluke, the former Southern California star had a memorable outing the following game as he led the Cards to a 55-13 rout of the Baltimore Colts by throwing six TD passes. Of note was that a record-tying seventh TD pass on the day was dropped.

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