Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yeah, Baby, We're Number...well...27

But we're climbing!

Sunday was a beautiful day. It started with the trip to the stadium. Traffic was rather light, so I assumed that the place would be emptier than usual, but as it turns out, people are just not rushing to be there at kickoff.

Their loss.

And, in fact, people who didn't show up for the first 2 1/4 minutes of the game missed out on some of its most exciting action. There is something amazing about seeing your team start the game by stuffing the vaunted opponent with a three and out followed by an amazing punt return and a 54 yard touchdown pass.

Don't get me wrong, we've seen the Cards jump out to big leads several times this year only to watch the lead disappear in time for the final clock tick, but a funny thing happened on the way to the typical Cardinals game: the defense held.

This was a wonderful game. Yes, the Seahawks took the lead with just over 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, but the Cards just came back and retook the lead never to relinquish it again.

So now the team is 4-9 with a chance to actually take 2nd place in the division. To do that, they'd have to catch St. Louis who gets Oakland, Washington and Minnesota (but we'd only have to hope for one of them to beat St. Louis thanks to tiebreakers) to close out the season, but simply beating San Francisco is enough for the Cards to pass them on the board.

Make it to 2nd place, and the Cards could get a home game next year against Minnesota instead of Detroit as well as an away game against the Giants instead of Washington. This is what they're playing for.

Go Cards!

Monday, December 04, 2006

First Things First

What a game that was! The Cards took the opening kickoff and proceeded to wipe out half the first quarter with a suffocating drive that seemed to demoralize the team, even if only a little at first. And for the first time this year, they took a game opening lead and never looked back. What a joy. You know, even with knowing that the team will not make the postseason yet again, this was a very satisfying win.

That said, it is now time to finally say that the Cardinals are officially eliminated from postseason eligibility. Curiously, had Denver held out against Seattle last night, the Cards could have remained eligible until the 16th (or even longer). Time to look forward to ensuring that Seattle gets only a Wild Card game at home this postseason.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Believe it or not, Arizona can still make the playoffs.

Earlier this week, my Google Alerts notified me that there was a post in a blog indicating the the Cardinals had been eliminated. I added a comment that the author was mistaken. While Arizona will obviously miss this year, they are still not mathematically eliminated (yet). He replied with his own comment that it was I who was mistaken because the Cards would be eliminated on the third tiebreaker since the first two tiebreakers would be even. I tried to add a second comment to point out that he had miscalculated, but mysteriously, that comment never made it to the web site. Curiously, he appears to have posted his erroneous comment to two different blog locations, but the other blog appears to be a replica of the first, text-wise (except there are no comments from me).

So here's how it breaks down. The Cardinals are officially eliminated from wild card contention because in order to be considered, they would have to win out, and they would be tied with a number of teams for that final spot. Since their record in the NFC would be 5-7, the Cardinals would be worse in tiebreakers than one of the required contenders, the Giants, Eagles or Vikings.

But, believe it or not, the Cardinals could still win the NFC west. Here's how:

Current standings:
Team.............W L......W L.....W L
San Francisco....5-6......2-2.....4-4
St. Louis........5-6......2-3.....4-4

In this most bizzare scenario, Seattle goes on a five game losing streak to finish 7-9 with a 3-3 record in the division (adding losses to Arizona and San Francisco).

San Francisco wins only one or two of its final five games: the one against Seattle and and any other against a team that is not Arizona finishing no better than 7-9 but losing the first tiebreaker to Arizona on head to head as well as having a 3-3 division record (adding a win against Seattle and a loss to Arizona).

St. Louis also wins no more than two games (neither being the Arizona game) to finish no better than 7-9 and finishing with a 2-4 record in the division (adding a loss to Arizona along the way).

Finally, Arizona goes on an improbable five game winning streak to finish 7-9. Along the way they add divisional wins over St. Louis, Seattle and San Francisco to bring their divisional record to 4-2.

If the best record in the division is 7-9 and Arizona has a 7-9 record, the first tiebreaker won't matter since no team has beaten all of the other divisional opponents to eliminate the head to head tiebreaker, but with the best divisional record of 4-2, Arizona would win the second tiebreaker.

Of course, Arizona has not yet shown an ability to win on the road, so this is all moot, but you still cannot say that Arizona is officially eliminated yet.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me

So the Detroit game ended in a win. We're not the worst team in football. We're the second worst team.

It could be worse. We could be eliminated already from playoff consideration, but we aren't. All we have to do is hope the Seahawks lose their remaining games, the 49ers win only against the Seahawks, the Rams lose out and the Cardinals win out. In other words, we can't be eliminated until December!

Hey, maybe Pete Carroll can be the answer. The LA Times says it's possible. Isn't it? I'm going to cry now.

Monday, October 23, 2006

And it just keeps getting worse

My reception yesterday was not very good. I have the high definition Tivo for DirecTV that receives local channels over the air. Yesterday, for some reason, the Fox affiliate signal was not coming in very well. As a result, whole chunks of the game were lost. I'm so happy that happened.

After so promising a performance on Monday night, the team that played Oakland on Sunday looked like the worst team in football. The defense didn't look awful (as usual), but the offense couldn't run or pass which means a big let down on the scoreboard. People are calling for Dennis Green's head, and no one (including me) is arguing against it. It's just hard to believe how unbelievably bad this team is performing.

Maybe I could switch to hockey. How are the Coyotes doing? Woo hoo! They're doing better (2-6, not 1-6). Please let me stop liking football.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I Love to See My Name in Print

The NFL has some complicated rules for broadcasting home games to the local crowd. Indeed, they have predictable, but not always obvious rules every week.

The games that occur on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday night and Monday are considered national games and never have other games on at the same time, so as long as the game is not blacked out locally, everyone receives the game.

On Sunday afternoons, there are as few as 11 games or as many as 14 games being broadcast. Fox carries the games where the visiting team is from the NFC while CBS carries those where the visitors are from the AFC. On each Sunday, one of those networks has the doubleheader game of the week. Typically, both show a game in the early slot (1PM Eastern) while only one shows a late game. If the city has a local team playing at home, each network gets only one game (with the exceptions explained below).

Next is the blackout rule which requires that normal seating (not including loge or box seating) be sold out 72 hours prior to kickoff to lift a blackout of any station broadcasting within 50 miles of the stadium. At their discretion, of course, the NFL has the right to lift a blackout anyway. If the blackout is lifted, either due to sellout or by gift from the home office, it is added as a third game being broadcast. That said, the other network is not allowed to show a game in the local area while the home team's game is being broadcast.

Since those rules were implemented, and prior to this year, there were 13 weekends where every game was broadcast in their local markets. In 2002 and 2005, it happened four times each year. This year, the NFL is 7 of 7. That's right, every game has been sold out every week. Remember, of course, that the Cardinals alone were responsible for eight weeks per year of avoiding that record, but there were also at least five other weeks each year that we weren't the cause.

Noting this anomoly, Tim Lemke of the Washington Post wrote an article giving particular focus to the Phoenix market. Finding himself at this blog, he very kindly asked a few questions about the team and the impact of local broadcasts. As you've already noted from the title, he quoted me a couple of times in the article which you can find here. Enjoy the read!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What the Hell Happened?

Last night, I sat next to a Bears fan. He was friendly, polite, visiting from Chicago, and I had the utmost respect for him.

Last night, around 15,000 fans in attendance cheered for the Bears. Most were locals who celebrated when the home team lost. I have no respect for these people who base their loyalty on an analysis of who is more likely to win.

The better team lost last night. Just as the better team lost last week and in Week 3. This is a team that should be 4-2 right now, but bizzarely keep finding losses where they should find wins. Suddenly, I feel personally aflicted by this disease. I just don't know what to say.

Monday, October 16, 2006

So I Skipped a Week

Frustrating is the word.

To begin a game with two first quarter touchdowns only to lose 23-20 singes. I remembered my camera this time, but the only decent action shot I got was of Ty Law intercepting a Leinart pass. I'm pretty sure I don't want to remember that.

What gets to me is the constant reminders from acquaintances that these are the same old Cardinals and that nothing will change until the Bidwill family is gone. I don't subscribe to that theory, but lacking significant wins, I have no argument back.

This team is two dropped balls away from being 3-2 right now. If Warner doesn't drop that snap as time was winding down against St. Louis, the Cards win that game. If Johnson doesn't let that third quarter pass bounce off his chest last week, the Cards go up 27-10 late in the third quarter. I suspect that would have been the final nail in the coffin.

Instead, we have 1-4. As a result, a very difficult game against Chicago becomes a must win. I'll be there. I'll have my camera. I'll be screaming. I just hope I get to take a few pictures of dejected Bears fans.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Football Disgusts Me

Okay, so maybe I'm not disgusted, but for a year that held such great promise, this is sure turning out to be a joke of a season.

So, let's regroup. Thanks to incessant turnovers, we lost a hard fought game in Seattle, blew a very winnable game against St. Louis, and looked like amateurs in Atlanta.

I was out of town for a pool tournament in Las Vegas, so watching the game became a communal event with gamblers at the Riviera Casino. How depressing to hear so many people laughing about the Cardinals' ineptitude.

Nice job, Adrian Wilson, but for the rest of you, I sure hope you pick it up before the game on Sunday. The Chiefs will not roll over for you.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sometimes, I Hate Football

At the end of the 2003 season, as any good Cardinals fan (or Vikings fan for that matter) will remember, the final game of the year was at Sun Devil Stadium. Coach Mac was already a lame duck, and this was his final hurrah. So many Cards fans had bailed, and the Vikings had so much to gain that 2/3 of the stadium was filled with people wearing purple. On the second to last play of the game, Josh McCown was sacked leaving the Cardinals with the seemingly impossible task of scoring a touchdown from a quarter field away or losing. Fading back to pass, McCown barely escaped another sack sending the Vikings fans into a frenzy of happiness at their impending success only to see a desperation throw end up in the hands of Nate Poole giving the Cardinals an improbable win. In a matter of seconds, Vikings fans went from elation to disbelief desperately wanting to fix the incongruity of the moment.

I know how they felt. The moment the Cards fumbled the ball with only time to run out before kicking a game winning field goal was the sickly period that meant the difference between my elation of having the game won to the disbelief of a lost cause.

It should never have been that close. Dropped passes, stupid interceptions and a porous secondary all contributed to the game being closer than it deserved to be.

I am so pleased that next week's game takes place in Atlanta where I don't have to show up with the energy necessary to help the team to victory.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My Continuing Bipolar Disorder

From the excessive happiness over last week's win to the anger and frustration attendant with yesterday's loss, keeping track of my emotions can be a challenging task.

For any reader who did not watch the game yesterday, Seattle beat Arizona handily 21-10. My emotions are running the gamut now.

First, there is the realization that when I plotted out the season and predicted 15-1, this was the one game I predicted as a loss (even a rabid fan has to show some restraint). So we're on track, right?

Wrong. Never figured into this one was the Monday night game against what I presumed to be a mediocre Chicago team. They've been anything but mediocre, but even that I have to temper with the knowledge that their impressive wins have come against Detroit and Green Bay, not exactly the cream of the NFL crop.

I also didn't envision an impressive San Diego team in San Diego. But, again, while San Diego has looked very good, they've done so against very bad teams (Oakland and Tennessee).

In other words, I'm still on board with the whole 15-1 thing, but I'd sure like to see the team play better. I'm off to a corner to lay down and mope for an hour about yesterday's game now.

Monday, September 11, 2006


First things first: if you're coming here to see pictures, sorry, but I forgot my camera in the excitement of the day.

On the Black Eyed Peas performance, well, they aren't really my speed, but they seemed to do quite well. I could have done without the fire effects as they simply reminded me of how hot Sun Devil Stadium used to be.

What a game! The crowd was pumped, they were loud, they were enthusiastic. The offense responded with a crowd pleasing performance (though the Monday night games have not yet been played, no other team scored 30 points yet this year). But as good as the offense was, the defense was dreadful. You can't base an entire season on a single game, but the 49ers are not exactly the cream of the crop in the NFL. I expected better.

Still, having the lead for virtually the entire game made everything go down better, even when the referee announced that San Francisco was getting a fourth time out in the first half. I wasn't even nervous when San Francisco recovered the onside kick at their own 38 with a half minute left in the game. Getting a touchdown from 62 yards away with no timeouts is not an easy proposition. I had faith, and the Cards rewarded me.

Now for Seattle and a real test.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Five Days and Counting

You know, this is my 19th year of being a fan (I'm quite the homer, and I grew up in Dallas), and I don't think I've ever felt this good going into the season. I expect victory in every home game. I expect victory in most of the road games. This year will be something special.

I recall the Rams of 1999. I remember week after week, Chris Berman asking the question of how many times a player could throw three touchdown passes in a game? I'm ready for the same greatness. It's a more seasoned version of the same quarterback but with better receivers this time.

Let's see, it's 12:05 now, that means I still have 121 hours to go.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Why Do I Do This?

When I started this blog last year, it was meant to chronicle my feelings during the course of the year as they related to my favorite football team, the Arizona Cardinals. While discussion of the games is an aspect of what I write, the reader can get that in much better detail from the likes of the Arizona Republic. And while I take pictures that I share, again, they are not of the quality one can get from the local newspaper.

I wanted to have a reviewable history of the emotions I endured (as in last year) or enjoyed (as in this year) for future review. I'm happy to see that some people have viewed these posts, but I'm also a community minded person. If you are a fan and would like to join in this process, there is a link to the right that reads, "Drop me a line." I would be honored to have a few fans join me in this process. Even if you join, there is no obligation ever to post. If you have something to say, you would add it, if not, well, I've gone entire months without posting anything.

Here's hoping I hear from you.

Preseason Is Done!

I'm so pleased with how the A and B units performed last night. Have I said it before? This year is going to be special.

Sadly, I was unable to attend the game. It was the first game I missed since the season closer in Buddy Ryan's last year (I was sick beyond belief that night). In last night's case, it was important for us to shoot pool on our league night. I was destroyed two matches in a row. Sure wish I'd gone to the game, but in my place, my daughter and her husband were able to attend, so at least it wasn't a total loss.

Just nine more days until the games actually count.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Here's to Good Health!

So the regular season is almost upon us. Unlike previous years, the Cardinals have done what they needed to do to minimize preseason injuries. No team comes out unscathed, and the questions about Karlos Dansby and Oliver Ross will continue, but compared to previous years, this team has reason to be happy.

I spent last week in Las Vegas for a pool tournament (we came in 129th place...woo hoo!), and I put a small amount down on the Cards to beat the Bears. Of course, once the game was over, I wished I had put down more and that I had taken odds to play a straight up win. Well, bets are easier to place once the results are in, and it was a preseason game.

One more week until the regular season begins. The five months of Christmas are only eight days away!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Mike is SO Right

I went to the stadium tour on the 19th as well (have been away from my computer for a week and was unable to post).

After going to some trouble to get tickets, park, walk to the stadium and enter, I come to find out it's no different from being there on game day. I expected a view of the lofts, maybe a guide to tell us what we may not have already known, but no, it was a walk around the stadium. Thanks, guys, but maybe I'll do that while the Black Eyed Peas are busy singing "My Humps."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Game One is in the Books

So, August 12th represented the opening of the stadium. You probably need to be deaf and blind not to know about this, but I don't care. What a great day!

The team warned all of us to arrive early since traffic questions would remain well after the game had ended, so we decided to leave two hours before kickoff. As we headed south on Loop 101, we found traffic backing up just after Cactus. We held out but finally bailed at Olive to attempt a 91st Avenue approach.

It did no good. 91st Avenue was awful as well. With the lot between Glendale and Northern feeding shuttle buses, it remained frustrating, but by 11:45, we were in our parking place. A note to the planners here: if it takes two minutes for the next car to arrive in the lot, you're probably doing something wrong.

The building was amazing, but I suspect any reader has already heard much about that. I've seen some amazing shots of the field sized flag rolled out at the national anthem, but this represents the flag as I saw it. I love the angle I have with the field.

As the game began, the defense did its part and prevented (along with an errant field goal attempt: must have been the wind) any scoring on Pittsburgh's part. That was followed by a drive down the field using the pass (the run game still needs work) culminating in a touchdown catch by former first rounder, Bryant Johnson. That's right, it wasn't Q or Fitz, it was BJ. What a year we're going to have.

Since I wanted to enjoy the game, I didn't have my camera at the ready all game long, but I did get a decent shot of the defense stuffing a run in the second half. Note how far behind the line the runner is as he's being thrown to the ground.

I know it's only preseason, but this season will be special.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I know it's all in my head, but...

Suddenly, I'm worried about the Matt Leinart negotiations. People who may or may not know what they're talking about have started saying that it's going very badly at the moment. But the thing is, if he doesn't sign with Arizona this year, his value next year is likely to be lower than this year (which was lower than the previous year) combined with the fact that he'd have to wait another year for that payday.

It'll be interesting to see who blinks, but I sure would like my anxiety to just end.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Football is Back!

The 2006 season (or at least the camp season) has finally started.

The anxiety level, for me, is still quite small since the only holdout at this point is Matt Leinart. Still, we all heard how big a holdout Reggie Bush would be, and his holdout was rather brief. That said, I suspect we'll have a Philip Rivers type holdout. In 2004, Rivers held out for most of training camp, thereby ceding the job to Drew Brees. It prevented him from starting for two years. There are even higher hopes for Leinart, but even if he doesn't show for training camp, I can rest well in the knowledge that Kurt Warner and John Navarre are there.

This is the year! Twelve days to the opening of the stadium!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Neil Rackers Rules

Okay, so I'm partisan, but the new NFL Network commercial with Neil Rackers is awesome. Speaking of Fantasy Football, he ends the commercial with, "You need a kicker, right? Pick me."


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I Gotta Wear Shades

I went to Disneyland (see my main blog for details). While walking through the Downtown Disney area, I saw a guy wearing a Matt Leinart Cardinals jersey. Oh, joy!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Greed Takes a Holiday

The Cardinals have announced their parking prices for the coming season, and wonderfully, the price is $0.00.

Well, sort of.

As part of the paying back for the stadium process, all ticket holders must pay a facility fee of $4.25. I had already chalked that up to stadium construction cost, but as luck would have it, it's also being considered my payment for parking at the facility. Wow. So while I'm paying $79.25 per game for my tickets, my parking has gone from $5 per game to nothing.

Just another in a continuing stream of smiles on the way to shocking the NFL with a Super Bowl win.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Audio Blogging

We've got an ASU student who's decided to start a podcast dedicated to Arizona Cardinals fans. Way to go! If you're interested, it's available on iTunes. Just search for Arizona Cardinals CardCast, and you'll get it. His web site is located at www.cardcast.com. I hope it goes well for him.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Time Marches On

There is an aspect of football that I don't like. To the studious reader, I'm sure you know that this will not be an indication of a real problem so much as a frustration.

The season, while it is the perfect length, is too short.

Basketball starts in November and doesn't finish until June. That's eight months of watching roundball.

Hockey starts in November and doesn't finish until June. In truth, hockey is shorter than basketball, but not much.

Baseball season starts in April and continues through October. That's seven months of good baseball.

Football season begins in September and is done five short months later.

My point is that I grow weary of the very long off season for the NFL. Sure, they give us NFL Europe, but it just isn't the same.

So let's see what we need to keep in mind on the calendar. Payment for season tickets is due on 5/31. That's 19 days away. Training camp opens somewhere around 7/24, so there are about 73 days until then. The first preseason game is 8/12, so there are 91 days until then. Opening day for the team in the regular season is four weeks later, so we have 120 days until opening day.

Sure wish I had more than 20 fingers and toes.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Wow! Wow! Wow!

It's been a while since I last posted, and oh, how much has changed. To build on James, they brought in Matt Leinert, and now the season tickets for 2006 have sold out.

I used to live in Dallas (until 1980). Even during the Cowboys height of fame, they never sold out all of the season tickets (they probably do now). Now, some of that may be due to the fact that, back then, you had to buy a $1,000 bond for your seat in order to buy a season ticket, but still---this is amazing for my Cardinals.

Whew! Now for Google to buy the naming rights and call it the Googleplex.

The bill showed up for season tickets yesterday. Time to pay another $544.50. Section 111, here I come!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Only a Fan Could Appreciate It

As so often happens, I checked out the official site yesterday at about noon. There I found a story about Kurt Warner appearing at an Alltel store 47 miles away in Chandler. Well, that's a short enough distance.

Expecting quite a crowd, I showed up an hour and a half early. Finding no crowd at all, I had a reasonable lunch at Dilly's Deli (I highly recommend it) and went on to the event a little later.

Sponsored by Alltel (my mobile phone provider), the idea was to have him record a voice mail greeting for customers. I loved the idea. And while everyone else now has autographed memorabilia, I've got Kurt Warner encouraging my callers to leave a message.

I'm in Heaven!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Cautiously Optimistic?

I don't know what to think any more. I'm very pleased with the addition of Edgerrin James. I may even buy a #32 jersey (authentic, of course).

But there's this nagging feeling of how sure I was that the team was headed for great things last year, then they just found a way to fall apart in every game. I'm looking forward to the new stadium, I expect improvement, and frankly I find that the talent on the team should be sufficient to win.

I'm just not giddy about the future yet unlike last year at this time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Geez, We Can't Even Lose Right

ESPN's Page Two did a story on miserable teams in the NFL. Or more specifically, the horribly treated fans. I don't know exactly what's wrong with their index, but any survey that feels the need to console Vikings fans more than Cardinals fans is just plain wrong. Read it for yourself.