Sunday, September 30, 2007

Oh Happy Day

What a day to be a Cardinals fan!

Sure, there was some early fear when Pittsburgh jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but that was such a brief period, it hardly rates mentioning.

I've been a fan of this team ever since they moved to Arizona. Never, during that period, have I spent virtually an entire game on my feet. The crowd was charged from start to finish, and they were personally responsible for three false starts by the Steelers.

This is a Steelers team that was favored by 6 points over the Cardinals (heck, the Cards have not yet been favored this year: will a visit to St. Louis fix that?). The only people who expected this result are the Arizona fans who have seen just how good this team is.

And quarterback controversy? What quarterback controversy? Yes, the team appeared to be more productive under Warner, but the plays called for him were designed to stretch the field more. Both of them looked good.

This team has been 2-2 before, but they didn't look this good getting there. Bring on the Rams!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bring 'Em On

I like the phrase, even though our president used it a bit irresponsibly a few years back (happy to see that he acknowledged this error, but as they say in "The Family Guy", I digest).

Over at ESPN, Chris Mortensen is picking the Cardinals. No one else is. In their Pigskin Pickem game, only two teams are picked less than Arizona (Denver, who plays in Indianapolis and Kansas City, who plays in San Diego). And in their Eliminator Challenge, Pittsburgh is the sixth most popular choice (Arizona is 4th least popular). Few are expecting a Cardinals victory.

I'm expecting one.

But then again, I'm delusional.

Still, this is a team with some of the most potent offensive weapons in the NFL. It's a team that passed at will (while Warner was in there) against Baltimore...not a defensive pushover. This is a team that is well balanced on both offense and defense (just need to lock down those special teams), and I like our chances.

Meanwhile, of course, Pittsburgh has been doing better in every category: scoring, offense, defense, wins.

Yes, we'll win.

Maybe I'll just place my bets on another game.

Monday, September 24, 2007

This is how conspiracy theories start.

I have an otherwise intelligent friend who believes that on 9/11/01, the US government fired a missile into the Pentagon and used a black airplane coordinated with explosive charges to bring down the World Trade Center. He's mistaken. And, by the way, for the legions of you who agree with my friend, post as many comments as you like. I can't seem to convince him of his temporary lunacy: I doubt I'll be able to convince you.

But maybe there's something to this conspiracy thing. In the first half of yesterday's game against the Ravens, the team was severely lackluster. Then Kurt Warner came in to save the day.

It was amazing. After spotting Baltimore a 23-6 lead, Kurt leads the team to 17 unanswered points. This game is headed into overtime. All the Cardinals need to do is prevent the Ravens from scoring in the final minute. They go into a prevent. After all, Baltimore has only limited opportunity to stop the clock. By keeping play in the middle of the field, things should go well.

Then the yellow hankie comes out. Adrian Wilson gets called for a hard hit that was completely legal. His shoulder hits the shoulder of Todd Heap very solidly. Curiously, the official sees him leading with his forearm to the opponents head. Replays clearly show that a) it was not the forearm and b) it was not the head. Merry Christmas, Baltimore. Have another 15 yards.

Games should never come down to a single play. When the game can hinge on whether or not an official blows a call, then your team has not won convincingly enough. Still, this single blown call was the difference between two teams playing for superiority and one team being handed three points.

I'm bitter. Still, it's only one game, and the Cardinals schedule still retains plenty of opportunity for improvement, but I wish a bad call had not overshadowed such brilliant performances by Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin.

On to next week...

Friday, September 21, 2007


I visited the blog of a Ravens fan today. I'll assume for the moment that he just doesn't know the correct spelling of the names of the quarterback or the senior receiver of our top two, but Rex, there is no "h" in Leinart and there is no "u" in Boldin. Now back to anticipating the matchup with Steve McHair and Ray Leuis.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is It Too Much to Hope For?

So for the second year in a row, the Cards have started off the season with a 1-1 record. They also did it in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002. I look forward to the year when they duplicate the 1991 effort and start off with a couple of wins. What's more interesting about 1991 is that it was the last time the Cardinals had a winning record after three games.

Sunday is a big test, and America expects the team to fail.

This team has good rushing, a scary pass potential and an overachieving defense, but still only the Bills (playing the Patriots) and the 49ers (playing the Steelers) are considered longer shots to win than the Cardinals. Really?


I've had this argument with others who constantly point out that the Cardinals will not get picked to win until they prove themselves on the field. My position is that if you aren't willing to predict a win until the game is over, then you're an awful predictor.

The Cardinals will win this game, and for all of the people who have completely ignored the team, we'll all hear about how surprising this team is. It's only a surprise because you weren't looking.

Go Cards!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Don't Talk to Me When I'm Out of Town!

Okay, so I play pool for fun. I'm good, but I'm not great. Thankfully, handicapped leagues exist just for people like me (hoorah for APA). Last weekend, I attended the Southwest Challenge 9-Ball tournament in Las Vegas. My team did okay, winning three rounds but losing two. We finished in a 16 way tie for 17th place among a field of 118 teams.

Why is this important? Because it caused me to miss a home game of my beloved Cardinals for the first time since Larry Centers leapfrogged a Dallas defender on Monday night in the game that found its way into "Jerry Maguire."

So I'm on the road between Wickenburg and Surprise when my phone rings (4:21 PM local time). A friend asks, "How about those Cards!" I try to keep him from telling me any more saying I don't want to hear about the game (TiVo would tell me later), but he responds with, "Why? They won!"

So, for me, watching the game was somewhat anticlimactic. Sure, it went down to the final seconds, but I never had any fear. Even when Seattle took a 20-17 lead, I knew I had nothing to worry about. I guess it serves me right for missing the game.

The offense made me much happier, but I was disappointed with how well they were held back in the 3rd quarter. To watch the game, it should never have been so close. Still, a win is a win, and I'm quite pleased that the team is 1-1 after two games. I always have optimism about my team, but I'm still not brimming with confidence. I look forward to that changing next week.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Blank Slate

Yes, just a reference to a mediocre (but fun) movie with Dana Carvey, but quite appropriate to my outlook on the Seahawks this week.

I have to remember that the defense was quite good on Monday night, and that offense just wasn't the offense I've seen even over the preseason, so Sunday has to go better.

I watched much of the Seattle/Tampa Bay matchup, all the while hoping that the Bucs would pull out the game. And frankly, it wasn't settled until late. Seattle is not the same team that went to the Super Bowl. That combined with the home opener frenzy the Cardinals should provide will, I hope, mean getting a game in the win column for the good guys.

Yes, that's the ticket. I'll set aside the rose colored glasses some other day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Just Don't Want to Talk About It...

...but of course I will.

I've been a Cardinals fan ever since this team moved to Arizona. Growing up in Dallas, Texas, I couldn't help but be a Cowboys fan as a child, and when we moved to Arizona in 1980, I had eight more years of rooting for the team I grew up with. But when the Cardinals moved to town in 1988, I knew I had to support the home team.

This will now be my 20th year of hoping for the best and always getting stabbed in the heart.

I need to be less defeatist. I need to have hope.

It isn't just that they lost, but how they lost. We all had our doubts about the defense going into the season but they stepped up! The Cardinals held the 49ers to 194 yards of total offense. For now, that makes Arizona the #2 defense in the NFL (behind Denver).

What I didn't expect was the anemic offense. This is a team with three, count 'em three, great wide receivers. But Boldin had 4 catches for 22 yards, Fitzgerald 3 for 20, Johnson 1 for 12. I'm pleased that the running game looked better, but Edge was still only good for 92 yards.

What disgusts me most is what I expect from those around me. The Phoenix area is a poor supporter of sports teams. No matter what the team, if they're having a rough spot, many so-called fans simply help to pile on. And for a football team that's had 18 rough spots out of a possible 19, it's tough to endure.

Still, the game was quite winnable, even very late. And is it just the first game of the season. I'm sure I could accumulate a list of the teams that lost their first game only to excel for the remainder of the season.

I can hope.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

It's Here! It's Here!

Yes, the 2007 season is finally ready to start, and as has been true of me for 20 years now, I expect the Cardinals to have a perfect season. My eternal optimism reminds me of an old joke about a novice chess player.

But I truly have reason to be optimistic. The team has a new coach that everyone seems to be getting behind. The draft went well, and hey, we even cemented the defensive line with Oakland's third round draft pick.

This year, the Cardinals get to close the initial weekend of action with the late Monday night game against San Francisco. A few years back, when Arizona showed a little promise, they Cardinals proved to be the only team that could lose to the 49ers during a year when San Francisco went 2-14. But for the last couple of years, the Cardinals have owned the 49ers. I like our chances. That said, gamblers don't like our chances making San Francisco a three point favorite. And Arizona is 40-1 longshot for the Super Bowl.

Won't they be surprised when we win all our games!