VIDEO: Yes, 2013 Josh McCown is same Josh McCown from 2003 Cardinals


It was a meaningless day for the 2003 Arizona Cardinals.

Pulling up the rear in the NFC West at 3-12, Arizona was playing out the string, with their final game coming against a Minnesota Vikings team that had everything on the line.

The Purple had to beat either Chicago in Week 15, or Arizona in Week 17 to secure a playoff spot and avoid disaster after winning their first six games of the season.

Their Week 15 matchup against Chicago would go down to the wire, with a young man named Charles Tillman snatching what would have been a go-ahead touchdown with one minute left right out of the hands of Randy Moss.

Chicago won 13-10, and finished the season 7-9.

The Vikings then beat Kansas City the next weekend, who finished the year 13-3, a strange twist to the end of the year considering the loss to the Bears.

It set up the final weekend of the season with the Vikings needing either a win or a Green Bay loss to win the division.

The Packers were taking on Denver, but the Broncos had already locked up the playoffs and were starting backup Danny Kanell at quarterback to have starter Jake Plummer fresh for the postseason.

Green Bay won 31-3, meaning Minnesota had to win in the late game against the Cardinals to be in the playoffs.

Jeff Blake started the first 13 games of the year for Arizona, but he gave way to second-year QB Josh McCown for the last three contests.

The Cards had lost both of McCown's starts, and it was an offensively ugly game going to the fourth quarter with Minnesota leading 7-6.

The Purple would extend the lead to 17-6 with less than seven minutes left.

McCown went to work, leading Arizona down the field to a touchdown with 1:54 left, the offense failing on the two-point conversion.

On the ensuing onside kick, Jim Kleinsasser had the ball go through his hands, and the Cardinals fell on it to get the ball back.

McCown put together an up-and-down drive featuring a 28-yard penalty on the Vikings, and he took a sack with 20 seconds left, setting up this mythical play some term "the debacle in the desert."

The infamous force-out rule was called, and McCown-to-Nathan Poole stood as called on the field.

The next week Poole was flown to Green Bay and given the key to the city on what was dubbed "Nathan Poole day," with his catch ensuring the Packers won the division and made the playoffs.

The Vikings would lose to every 4-12 team in the league that year.

As for McCown, the Vikings will see him once again Sunday, with Bears starter Jay Cutler out with a high ankle sprain.

McCown also started against the Vikings in the season finale of 2011, beating Minnesota that day as well.

Though the organization has changed on every level since 2003, many of the fans have stayed the same, and surely haven't forgotten the day McCown the Menace booted Minnesota.

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