Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few days, you've probably already heard that the now-former Houston Texan, J.J. Watt has joined his former teammate DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona.
Watt famously wore the number 99 jersey during his ten-year stint in Houston and has been allocated the same number by the Cardinals. However, many Arizona natives found the news to be of some surprise. The number 99 Cardinals' shirt had been retired since 2006 in honor of former player, Marshall Goldberg (no, I hadn't heard of him either).
So, who is Marshall Goldberg, and why did the Arizona Cardinals decide to retire his shirt-number?
Who is Marshall Goldberg?
Marshall Goldberg played for the Cardinals when the franchise was based in the city of Chicago. He was a prominent member of the roster from 1939 to 1943 and then returned to the same team following national service in the army during WWll. He continued to play for them for a further three seasons (1946, 1947 & 1948).
Goldberg was a versatile athlete, equally adept at taking the field as a running back, defensive back, and even as a kick returner.
Goldberg was a second-team All-Pro in 1941 and helped the Cardinals franchise to its last championship win in 1947, the year before he retired.
By the end of his storied career, Goldberg had amassed 2,420 yards from scrimmage and 17 total touchdowns. He is most fondly remembered as an excellent kick returner and led the NFL in all-purpose yards in 1941. Because of his ability to play in multiple positions out on the turf, Goldberg also finished his career with 19 interceptions. He led the league in that category in 1941 (the same year he was named to the Pro Bowl).
Marshall Goldberg died in 2006, which is when the Cardinals' franchise opted to retire his shirt. It is one of only 5 shirt numbers that Arizona has ever retired in its near 123-year history. It's unlikely Arizona would have unretired it for any player other than incoming former Texans star J.J. Watt.
Let's hope he honors the shirt well.