It’s official. After 110 seasons of football the Arizona Cardinals are in the Super Bowl. A team founded in 1898 as a charter member of the NFL, the Cardinals have only won two championship games in their history, the last being in 1947, when the then Chicago Cardinals won their league championship. Keep in mind, this is two decades before the inaugural Super Bowl, but it’s time to rewrite history. Move over jokes with the Cards as the punch line, or historical references about how long its been since they’ve won a playoff game, much less made it to the biggest of all playoff game, the Arizona Cardinals are NFC Champions and are headed for Tampa Bay and Super Bowl XLIII.
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Not if you’re Ken Whisenhunt, not if you’re Kurt Warner, and especially not if you’re Larry Fitzgerald. Let me be the first to say that Mr. Fitz, as I like to call him, has officially landed himself in the top spot of the wide receiver echelon in my opinion. Enough of the interviews with the verbally challenged T.O. or the other “thug-esque” receivers of the NFL. It’s time Larry Fitzgerald becomes the poster boy of what a real man who is also an athlete looks like, acts like, talks like, and especially plays like. His class is evident the minute he opens his mouth, not to mention the minute he steps on the field. The verbosity with which he speaks appears as if he just stepped out of teaching a Harvard Law class, not a player who went to Pitt has been continually overlooked thanks to the likes of Reggie Wayne, Braylon Edwards and Randy Moss. And while I’m on the topic and have the means to say what I’m thinking, he should have a Heisman Trophy on his shelf also, and I’m not just saying that because I haven’t liked Jason White since our days playing against each other in Western Oklahoma, Fitz earned it.
I could spend the whole article on Mr. Fitz, but his play this postseason speaks for itself. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the reward for their first four-game winning streak in over a decade is the best defense, statistically speaking, that the league has seen in over 20 years. Much will be made about the familiarity that Coaches Whisenhunt and Grimm have with the Steelers personnel and play calling, but I’m of the opinion that the extra week to prepare benefits the defense. Also, if anyone remembers what the stands looked like in Super Bowl XL, the amount of Cardinal fans across the country might be the only fanbase which will show up with a smaller contingent than Seahawks, and hopefully for the boys from Arizona this won’t turn into another “home away from home” situation for their black and gold opponents.
That said, I can’t wait for this Super Bowl. Two teams playing at the top of their games meet at the perfect time, while both are peaking. I hope both teams come in firing on all cylinders and we have one for the ages, and I wouldn’t recommend betting anything against this bunch from Glendale. Incidentally, the last team to make the playoff with only nine wins in the regular season, the 1979 Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XVIII. Ironically, they lost that Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
My apologies to Les Miles.