Setting the Stage: Arizona Cardinals

January 20, 2009

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Setting the Stage: Arizona Cardinals

The stage was officially set after Sunday's two Conference games for the 43rd Super Bowl. The Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers both jumped over their last hurdles to go to the big dance. But don't ask either coach if they'll be satisfied with just making it. They want to win it! I'll bring you a in-depth 7 part preview of the big game as I'll give my prediction on the game on the 7th and final post. So let's get to it! This is the 'intro' post to the 7 part series.

Arizona Cardinals v. Pittsburgh Steelers

If you would have asked any NFL fan before the season started what they thought the Super Bowl match up would be, most likely they wouldn't have guessed the Arizona Cardinals would be in it. They would have probably predicted a Division winner (since the NFC West is not the toughest division of football) but the Super Bowl? Not so fast right? However the NFL is a wacky sport. It doesn't matter how well you start out or how many big names you have on a team, but instead of chemistry and getting hot at just the right time.

The Arizona Cardinals looked like a depleted team as the regular season came to a close. A lot of 'experts' and people (including myself) picked the Atlanta Falcons to go into Arizona and beat the NFC West winners. Mainly because of one Michael Turner. Arizona didn't have a good rush defense so a Turner rush offense on paper just a no-brainer headache for Arizona.

That wasn't the case...

The Cardinals held the Falcons running game to minimum production as Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and the offense made big plays when necessary. Up next was the Carolina Panthers. A team that had one of the top three running back combos to go along with a stiff and tough defense. With the game in North Carolina, the Cardinals were once again doubted by many even with the home win against the Atlanta Falcons a week earlier.

Jake Delhomme didn't play good...

Delhomme threw 5 interceptions in the game. Anytime you throw 5 picks, chances are you're not going to win a football game and the Cardinals took advantage as they never eased up. Now the Cardinals finally got some attention. They caught my full attention. I doubted them a lot against the Falcons and I still had a little doubt before their encounter with the Panthers. They erased all the doubt in my mind after that win. Now just one game away from the big game, all eyes were on Arizona for the NFC Championship Game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cardinals.

Philadelphia made the game close late in the fourth quarter, but their 3rd ranked defense couldn't get the job done as they just couldn't stop Arizona's explosive offense. The Cardinals prevailed once again...this time just one more step to winning football's greatest prize.

“We are the Champions” blared Warner. “When nobody else believed in us, when nobody else believed in me, you guys did and we’re going to the Super Bowl.”

I'll 'set the stage' for the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow with Super Bowl 43 just a little over a week and change away.

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