by: Chris Sullivan
Anybody but the Cardinals, that is…
Why I am not rooting for the Cardinals
It seems like there is a fair amount of conversation in the comments today about those rooting for or against the Cardinals. I for one don’t really care all that much, I don’t feel threatened in the long-term by the little birds because from my stance they are done as soon as Kurt Warner is gone. I think they have put together a decent year mainly by picking on an awful division — they were 6-0 against NFC West opponents in the regular season and 3-7 against the field. I would say that they have just gotten hot at the right time, but that’s not entirely fair. Their game plans have been good in the first two games, and they have played up to their potential — something they really didn’t do much all year long, and have historically been terrible at in the past.
I do not find myself rooting for them at all, and for a number of reasons. First, the Cards have not “earned it.” What I mean when I say that is not just that they stumbled in this year, but that they have been a bad team for many years, and their strength this year is largely based on the fluke of the Seahawks and 49ers being so god awful (the rams too, but thats just expected at this point). The Cardinals have been perenially terrible and their personnel and coaches do not inspire fear in me or, really, just about anyone else (maybe Jake Delhomme). I see that they were clearly the class of the NFC Worst this season, but I do not expect them to repeat next year, with both the Hawks and the new-look 49ers appearing to be better suited for winning in the long run.
Secondly, the Cardinal fan-base, loud though they may be in the aftermath of two playoffs wins, are quiet when the team is losing. Qwest Field was still loud and well attended even after the season was announced dead; the Cards barely sold out the PLAYOFF games, and would not have if not for an extension by the NFL. That is shameful and embarassing, and the Viking fans get the same scorn in my eyes.
Third, I see nothing exciting about the Cardinals making it to the big game, other than to stop an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl. I don’t like the Eagles (or their fans), but I do always root for Sando and Mike Sando was the only person I know of who picked the Eagles to make it to the big game, let alone win it. I believe that the playoff situation this year has shown some of the weaknesses of the current seeding issue, for better or for worse. I typically root for the NFC, but I would prefer either the upstart Ravens or the inspiring Steelers (their defense, that is, not the offensive offense… ha… terrible pun, sorry). The Ravens make me feel that the Hawks can still be a contender (as did the Panthers, Falcons, Dolphins, et al). The Cardinals inspire me to try to keep afloat at best and hope for some luck along the way. Sorry, but that story just doesn’t make me give a damn.
Finally… I just can’t root for a division rival. I just can’t. Ever. They are the enemy! It’s petty, and relatively insignificant compared to the other reasons, but hey, I’m a Seahawk fan. You wouldn’t root for the Raiders in the 80s and 90s… would you?