Monday, January 19, 2009

Arizona Cardinals' Run: Revolutionary for All Doormat Teams

Sometimes you have to sit back and take a second to realize what is going on and truly admire what the run by the Arizona Cardinals. In the NFL there are a handful of teams that for much of their existence have struggled. Teams that season after season find a way to live down to expectations.

Some of those teams include the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, and of course the Arizona Cardinals. Yes, Cincy has been to two Super Bowls, and yes on a regular basis the Saints are a solid .500 team, but, overall they have been franchises that have always been at the bottom of the standings.

I have been a Saints' fan my entire life. Lately, good fortune has been abundant for a franchise that at times has looked hapless. I can recall so many heartbreaking losses where despite the lead the Saints' held they would somehow some way find a way to lose. This thinking, this negativity surrounds all struggling franchises.

I will never forget the night the Cardinals lost to the Bears 24-23. In my lifetime I have never been so upset to see a team choke away an NFL game not involving the Saints. I guess in a way I saw with the Cardinals the same hapless demeanor inside the Saints for many years.

I am sure Lion fans and Bengals fans can agree.

But through all these tough times, through all the years of unfilled expectations, through all blown games, the Cardinals defied all logic. 1947 the St. Louis Cardinals won the NFL Championship and since then only one playoff victory has come to the franchise. Coming into the season, Arizona again had high expectations and for once looked to be living up to the billing, but losing four out of their final five towards the end of the season pretty much drowned out those thoughts.

Arizona was supposed to lose to Atlanta, but they didn't. They were supposed to lose to Carolina, but they didn't. They were supposed to lose to Philadelphia, but they didn't.

I have nothing against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I have to root for the ultimate underdog. I have to root for the franchise that has spent 61 years with little happiness.

When the Cardinals take the field to play the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII they will be cheered on by more than the Cardinal faithful. They will be cheered on by every fan out their of every struggling franchise because deep down inside these fans are thinking, "Hey, if the Cardinals can do it why not us?"

Why not?

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