Super Bowl Here They Come!
NEW YORK (RushPRNews) 01/28/09– Raise your hands all of you who foresaw the Arizona Cardinals making it to the Championship game. Now keep them up if you thought that a graybeard Kurt Warner would be the one under center reviving the Cardinals, dubbed the â€œworst team to make it into the playoffs,â€ as well as his career in the process.
This is unquestionably one of the seasonâ€™s biggest surprises among many. But seeing is believing. And after constantly witnessing Arizona defy the experts as well as the odds, the NFC champs are starting (for the most part) to make doubters into believers. Of course not everybody is willing to jump on Arizonaâ€™s bandwagon just yet with claims that their winning streak is a mere fluke. In any event, the Cards are one win away from pulling off one of the most improbable Super Bowl runs in recent history.
At 9-7, the Cardinals harmlessly slipped into the playoffs. Nothing was expected from them from this point on. In fact, making it to the post-season had to be considered a moral victory for the franchise. But for who? Certainly not for the guys inside the locker-room.
â€œLetâ€™s shock the world,â€ Coach Ken Whisenhunt said earlier this week, referring to hosting the Lombardi trophy. â€œLetâ€™s shock the worldâ€. Yes, that sentence echoed throughout the league during the entire post-season.
Riding the highs of making the playoffs, a feat that comes once in a blue moon for this franchise, along with actually hosting the NFC wildcard game, gave the home team enough of a boost to outlast the Falcons, consequently opening the door for discussion concerning the Cardinalâ€™s ability to beat a quality football team -when it counts.
Roaming in unfamiliar territory, the pressure was off the Cardinals and now placed on the shoulders of their opponents to knock off a team that was presumed much weaker and occupied the role of underdog every week.
But the clock never struck midnight on their Cinderella season and it continued all the way to the Super Bowl.
The journey has been long having defeated the Atlanta Falcons, the Carolina Panthers, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
No question that the Cards are a much more effective team when playing in the desert. Not so much on the road. Carolina was a perfect 8-0 on the road this season. Add the fact that the Panthers appeared to have too much talent offensively for the Cardinalsâ€™ defense to match up against. In the end, the Cardinals shut down their opponentâ€™s major playmaker in Steve Smith and forced quarterback Jake Delhomme into five turnovers. Not bad for a team that stands no chance against a high-octane offensive unit.
Their win against a tough and physical Eagles defense proved that they can score points early on and finished in fashion with Fitzgerald, Warner and rookie Tim Hightowerâ€™s late game heroics. After the Eagles drilled the Cardinals 48-20 on Thanksgiving, Arizona carved up the Eagles in the second time around, showing resilience and the ability to adjust the game plan to suit the needs to make the big play.
And the big play is the main reason why the Cardinals are making their first Super Bowl appearance. It has an offense that has a lot of guys doing a lot of different things. But the dynamic part about the Cardsâ€™ offense is Larry Fitzgeraldâ€™s ability to catch a pass for Warner under any circumstance. As fellow receiver Anquan Boldin said â€œhe[Fitzgerald] looks like a man among boys.â€
But now the Cardinals await their toughest challenge yet and will have to fly over Pittsburghâ€™s renowned steel curtain. The Ravens and Joe Flacco will tell you that this is a no fly zone.
Who has the edge in Super Bowl XLIII and why.
Offense: As good as big Ben is with extending plays with his arm and legs, the edge has to go with the dynamic duo of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin and their air-it-out formula.
The Cardinals have done a tremendous job stopping the run which might translate into a long day for Steelersâ€™ Willie Parker.
Edge goes to Arizona.
Special Teams: Santonio Holmes took one back against the San Diego Chargers and that proved to be the difference maker. He showed that he is not only a deep threat in the passing game, but he can utilize his speed in the return game as well.
Edge goes to the Steelers.
Defense: Pittsburgh are the number one ranked defense for a reason. They are called the Steel curtain for a reason. Not much more to say about that.
Edge goes to the Steelers.
Coaching: Both head coaches have two years experience and both managed to lead their respective teams to the Super Bowl. But Arizonaâ€™s Ken Whisenhunt was Pittsburghâ€™s offensive co-coordinator back when they won the Super Bowl three years ago. He is familiar with their personnel and has the inside scoop on his former team.
Edge goes to Arizona.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Arizona Cardinals, 1 Feb 7:00pm
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