(Note: Apologies to one and all…but sometimes I read something so stupid I cannot help myself.)
Jeezus H. Christ. What exactly does it take to write for Slate? Charles Pierce (who is NOT, I repeat NOT to be confused with Charles Peirce) single handed proves it doesn’t take a whole hell of a lot. The Cardinals’ presence in the Super Bowl is fluky and disgraceful.
[W]e are going to be inundated with mendacious swill over the next two weeks on the subject of what a great story the Arizona Cardinals are….
We’re going to hear about how they magically transformed themselves at the end of the season. We’re going to hear about the remarkable comeback of Kurt Warner. We’re going to hear about how marvelous it is for the National Football League that a Super Bowl championship is within the grasp of a team so thickly dripping with obvious mediocrity that it’s a wonder Charlie Sheen isn’t playing left guard. We are going to hear all of this because the NFL and its broadcast partners operate on the very simple premise that everybody who reports—or follows—their sport on television is a paste-eating moron.
This simple fact is that the very presence of the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl is at best a fluke and, at worst, a disgrace.
Tough words from a writer based in a city that produced, by far, the worst team to ever make a Super Bowl. The 1985 edition of the New England Patriots was a joke of a team that got utterly embarrassed in Super Bowl XX, which they lost 46-10. The Patriots managed a robust -19 yards of offense in the first half. Only the Bears showing some mercy when the game was out of hand in the second half allowed New England to finish with more than 100 yards of offense for the game. That vaunted New England rushing attack amassed 7 yards in 11 attempts for the entire game.
Granted, this was in the middle of an era of NFC dominance where the AFC lost 15 of 16 Super Bowls between 1981 and 1996. (Only the Raider’s win in Super Bowl XVIII kept the AFC from complete futility.) But even in this age of relative AFC ineptitude the feebleness of the Patriots stands out. (Yes, the Broncos were creamed worse in Super Bowl XXIV, but Denver had the best record in the entire AFC that season, so just imagine how much worse the loss could have been had Cleveland or Buffalo made it that season.)
So could the Cards stink up the joint on Sunday? Sure they could, but they have high standards of sucking to meet before we starting making noises about “all-time worst” whatevers.
Hey, but maybe Pierce can back his contentions up with facts and stats. Let us read on:
They played in a landfill of a division. They won their two playoff games because Jake Delhomme of Carolina turned the ball over six times and because the Philadelphia Eagles all looked at the newspapers last Sunday and discovered they were in the NFC championship game again.
Actually, the Cards have won three playoff games this year, not two. But beyond that mistake lets check the logic here. “The Cards suck because the rest of the NFC West sucks.” I guess the 2006 Colts, the 1999 Rams and the 1998 Broncos sucked as well since they also won divisions that featured no other plus .500 teams. Oh, wait a sec….all of those teams won the Super Bowl those years? Hmm…that must mean the quality of the division doesn’t necessarily reflect on all the teams. Who knew?
Oh, and Carolina and Philadelphia, who collectively turned the ball over 9 times against the Cards, did so completely without defensive pressure from Arizona. Funny, I watched those games and I don’t seem to remember it that way, but my eyes must be lying.
Cardinals are a glorified Arena Football League team with a soft defense and a running game unworthy of the name.
Yes, they don’t have the high powered running offense of the Steelers, right? Well, let us see…the Cards racked up 3.5 yards a carry this season which ranked them 31st in the league. Pittsburgh is much better than that, right? Well, the Steelers averaged 3.7 yards a carry ranking them 29th in the league. Oh yeah, that’s impressive. So according to Pierce averaging 3.5 yards a carry makes you a “glorified Arena Football League team” while 3.7 yards makes you an NFL juggernaut. Gee, thanks for the tip Chuck.
They are in the position that they’re in because the NFL rigs its season worse than any carny rigs his wheel. For all the macho posturing of its principal propagandists, between the jiggering of the schedule and the conniving of the draft and the socialistic revenue schemes, and the desperate grab for any mechanism that will flatten out the differences between really good teams and really bad ones, the NFL is the league that comes closest to the biddy soccer league philosophy of making sure that everyone gets a trophy.
Yeah, I mean the Cards must have won only 2 or 3 games last year. The fact they went 9-7 this year must be some sort of conspiracy!! What is that? The Cards went 8-8 last year? Oh….never mind.
But wait…didn’t the Cards face a much easier schedule when compared to the worthy Steelers? Well, let us compare Pittsburgh’s non-division schedule to Arizona’s. The Steelers non-divisional foes went a combined 95-64-1 this season with five of those teams making the playoffs. Take that you Arizona bastards!!
What is that? The Cards non-divisional opponents went 98-61-1 (three games better than the Steelers schedule can boast) AND five of those teams made the playoffs as well? But, that’s not the same! Arizona only went 1-4 against those playoff bound teams! See they are undeserving!!!! What?? Pittsburgh also went 1-4 against their non-divisional playoff bound opponents? Well….crap!
The only proof anyone should need came in the 15th game of the season, when Arizona visited New England. It already was clear this year that the Cardinals were even money to finish in the middle of the pack of any league that played in the upper latitudes, with the possible exception of the Ivies. Send them north out of the pleasure dome that the Bidwills blackjacked out of the state of Arizona, and the team did things like give up 56 points to the New York Jets, playing such shoddy defense that Brett Favre threw for six touchdowns. This, of course, ignited another outbreak of hot and steamy Favre love from the easily smitten television press corps, so we have the Cardinals to blame even for that. In Foxborough, however, in December, they simply quit.
The Patriots scored on nine of their first 10 possessions. The score was 31-0 at halftime.
My God!! That is the sort of thing that only happens when one team has nothing to play for and the other is fighting for its playoff life. You know what I mean, when one side has already won their division and are no longer in the running for home field advantage…you know, like the situation Arizona was in this year. Oh wait a sec….
Maybe that isn’t the point. Maybe the point is Pittsburgh didn’t go on the road for the second to last game of the season and stink up the joint! What is that? They went on the road to Tennessee and lost 31-14? Well, that’s is totally different because, um…well…because Arizona sucks!!!!
Bear in mind over the next week that this game will be cited as the “pivotal” moment in the Cardinals’ miracle run to the Super Bowl. Ken Whisenhunt—who sat most of his offensive weapons in that game—and his staff will be the subject of gooey encomiums for cracking the whip after the loss to New England. There will be loose talk about professionalism, and about how pride was appealed to at a critical moment. And since snow is a long shot in Tampa, they might even win the game, and then there will be more of it. And it will all be nonsense.
Yeah, Whisenhunt rested his key players for a play-off run. See how that worked for him? They are only in the Super Bowl. What an idiot Whisenhunt is! Oh yeah, and even if this team wins the Super Bowl that only proves they are no good.
Who can argue with “logic” like that?
(Cross Posted at The Iconic Midwest)