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Super Bowl XLIII Thoughts From An Arizona Cardinals Fan



In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m an Arizona Cardinals fan. I grew up in Arizona, so it happens.

In school, admitting you were a Cardinals fan was something you just did not do. Sure, people might talk about the Cards on Mondays and Fridays during the NFL season, but nobody would come out of the closet and say they were a fan, certainly not in the ways that they would for good teams.

Finally, that’s all changing. People in Arizona don’t hate football. Deep down, Arizonans have always wanted to like the Cardinals, but for years there were so many factors working against that.

As with all Arizona teams except the Suns, even locals were raised cheering for other teams. The reason why so many Dallas Cowboys fans are at games in Arizona is that for decades, the Cowboys WERE Arizona’s team.

Then there was the stadium. Sun Devil Stadium might be fine for ASU, but for an NFL team it was unsuitable, especially during the summer. The heat could have worked as a home field advantage, but the league would never let Cardinals host games the first couple of weeks of the season. Of course, it’s no problem to send people to Lambeau. So each year, the Cardinals would have high hopes, only to return home on a losing streak.

The Cardinals finally grew up when they got the new stadium in Glendale. Sure, it might look like a bedpan, but they finally have something to be proud of, something that will stand as one of the best in the NFL for years to come.

Of course, there are the Bidwills. I still don’t like them. But as time has gone on, they seem to be opening up their wallets just a bit more, while running the franchise better than they once did. Arizona is a place where people want to spend a fall and winter. The Cardinals should be a team that guys want to play for, and with this playoff run, they will. It’s not overly optimistic to think this franchise is finally turning it around.

There are plenty of critics out there. A 9-7 team shouldn’t be in the Super Bowl. A team with few fans and a bunch of bandwagon jumpers shouldn’t be in the Super Bowl. You know what, those of us who are fans don’t care about any of that. Join on the bandwagon, the more the merrier. And sorry that the Cardinals made the playoffs over some big-city media darling team, but they won their division while also saving something for the playoffs. The fact is, the Cards are in the Super Bowl, and everyone else can just deal with it.

I’m proud that the Arizona Cardinals are finally a respectable NFL team, one win away from being Super Bowl champs. The fact that the Cardinals are even playing in the Super Bowl still hasn’t sunk in, and probably won’t, since I’m not currently living in Arizona. This has now happened to me twice. When the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series, I was living in Glasgow, Scotland. It’s hard to celebrate much when you’re watching in a dorm at 4am when everyone else is sleeping.

I won’t pretend I’m as hardcore as the fans who have had season tickets since the Cardinals moved to the Valley. The people who sat on the metal bleachers in the heat at Sun Devil Stadium are the ones who deserve this the most. I don’t own a Neil Lomax jersey or a Stoney Case jersey. I do own a Matt Leinart jersey, bought a couple of years ago on sale, which I will not be wearing any time soon since I don’t want to end up on Straight Cash Homey. (See, we Cardinals fans can still find things to be embarassed about.) I’m certainly not as high profile as some of the other Buzzsaw fans. I’m just a fan in my own way, hoping that this run continues and the Cardinals bring home the Vince Lombardi Trophy

Sure, it took a long time, but Buddy Ryan’s words are finally true: We’ve got a winner in town. Shock the world and win it all.

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I will be watching the game at the Bear’s Lair in Berkeley should anyone in the Bay Area be looking for a place to watch. I’ll of course be in my Cardinals shirt, hopefully not overwhelmed by Steelers fans. And yes, I will be eating wings. I will also be posting updates on Twitter, so if you are twitterly inclined, you can follow me at SportsRubbish. My phone is going to end up covered in buffalo sauce and bleu cheese dressing. Go Cardinals.

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