Like Emmitt Smith, Edgerrin James came to the Cardinals near the end of his career, his best years behind him. Unlike Emmitt Smith, James still had some pretty decent seasons in Arizona, a place that up until that point hadn't really been a great spot for running backs.
You can make the argument Edge would have been a Hall of Fame finalist -- as he is again this year, it was announced Thursday night -- without his time with the Cards. But it probably helped at least a little, with his lone Super Bowl appearance and a couple of 1,000-yard seasons.
Edge ran for 1,159 yards in 2006 and then 1,222 yards in 2007 -- the latter being the most for a Cardinal since the team moved to the desert, at least until David Johnson surpassed it by 17 yards in 2016. Edge's 2006 total had been tops before his 2007 mark. So he made an impact with the Cards.
Even in 2008, when he fell out of favor with coach Ken Whisenhunt as rookie Tim Hightower got work -- James actually didn't play three games that season and finished with 514 yards -- the Cardinals don't make the Super Bowl that season without Edgerrin stepping up in the playoffs.
There are two other ex-Cardinals who are among the finalists, both of whom have been finalists before (as has James). Guard Alan Faneca played just one season (2010) with the Cards after a stellar career with the Steelers and Jets. Former coach Don Coryell reached the peak of his fame coaching the pass-happy San Diego Chargers in the late 1970s and early 1980s in a time when the pass wasn't the thing to do, but Coryell also coached the Cardinals to their best years in St. Louis, with a great stretch between 1974-76.
The Hall class will be chosen on Super Bowl eve in February.