Why the Arizona Cardinals Can Still Be Considered Contenders
February 26, 2009 by AlexV
The Arizona Cardinals can still be considered contenders. They went very far this past NFL season… all the way to the Super Bowl. If it hadn’t been for a few costly mistakes (i.e. interception resulting in 100 yard TD return for longest play in Super Bowl history by linebacker James Harrison, and two fumbles by the Quarterback) and all things were to remain constant in that game, they would have been Champions.
But that doesn’t matter because they aren’t champions and the Pittsburgh Steelers created and/or forced the Cardinals into those mistakes. But make no bones about it; this team totally changed its approach when the playoffs began.
Their offense remained just as explosive as it had been in the air, and then they finally decided to rely on the run a little more. For next year, the Cardinals now know that they can run the ball effectively. With Edgerin James getting older, and Tim Hightower being nothing more than an effective backup, the Cardinals have plenty of room to draft a power or fast, or whatever kind of back that can be a pro-bowler. And honestly, they can’t be much worse than James and Hightower.
Everyone knows about the trend of Super Bowl losers not making the playoffs the next year, but remember, the Cardinals are still in a poor division with two teams that have to rebuild, Rams and 49ers, and one team that was in real shambles this season and with an aging QB in Matt Hasselbeck, the Seattle Seahawks. I know that sounds hypocritical because Warner is 37 and was still dead nasty, but he is an exception to the rule of the old quarterbacks whose performances dwindle when they get older.
Another strong argument against their chances may be that if they can’t keep Anquan Boldin they won’t be as explosive. However, we must remember they either didn’t play with him or did while he was ailing with injuries during these playoffs, and Larry Fitzgerald still tore it up.
I believe the Arizona Cardinals are right where they need to be. They showed lots of heart in the Super Bowl defensively after being down 17-7 and 20-7, because they still stuck to their guns and held the Steelers shy of the end zone twice. Of course they blew it at the end, but they still showed a lot of moxie. Do not be surprised to see them in the Super Bowl if it does happen. Plus, with the way the NFL has been the past few seasons, I think the only teams that could surprise me in the Super Bowl are the Lions and 49ers. ‘Nuff said.