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Old 01-26-2009, 07:39 AM   #1
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Default Kawakami: Arizona Cardinals could do NFL a favor ... lose

Kawakami: Arizona Cardinals could do NFL a favor ... lose
http://www.mercurynews.com/sportsheadlines/ci_11553531
By Tim Kawakami
http://www.mercurynews.com/sportsheadlines/ci_11553531

Mercury News Sports Columnist
Posted: 01/25/2009 10:17:34 PM PST

They're the Super story, though it's not clear whether the Arizona Cardinals are the protagonists or just a bunch of desert-spawned historical asterisks.

The Cards were the story right after they clinched the franchise's first Super Bowl berth, they have been the story ever since, and they will be the story up until kickoff Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And, though it seems incredibly, wildly unlikely, it is not out of the question that they could win.

The Cardinals could win Super Bowl XLIII and transform themselves into this sports era's biggest cosmic head-shaker.

So the larger question, as we head into Hype Week: If the Cardinals beat the Steelers, would that be a good or bad thing for the NFL?

Let's do a rundown "...

An Arizona championship would be BAD for the NFL because it would further erode the significance of the regular season.

We accept that baseball, the NBA and the NHL play their seasons as a semi-coherent, occasionally entertaining prologue before the real stuff begins.

But no professional league probably in the world makes more money and gets more attention for each regular-season game than the NFL.

The league's riches are built on the significance of its regular season. It's a tremendous regular season.

So what happens if the Vince Lombardi Trophy goes to Arizona, with its 9-7 regular-season record, 3-7 mark against non-NFC West opponents, four losses by 21 points or more, and tradition of poor ownership, poor luck and poor, poor fans?

Actually, the importance of the regular season seems to have been frittering away for a little while now. Arizona might kill off the meaning forever.

Last year, the New York Giants were very talented but muddled through the regular season at 10-6 and scored only 22 more points than they allowed. That was before they got red hot and eventually toppled 16-0 New England (plus-315 in points differential) in the Super Bowl.

Two years ago, Indianapolis went 12-4 in the regular season but was only a plus-67 in points differential, and won the Super Bowl by beating Chicago, which was a plus-172.

Before the 2006 season, both Super Bowl entrants usually had points differentials above plus-100 and the winner often was closer to plus-200 a sure sign of season dominance.

This year, the Cardinals had a plus-1 regular-season points differential. The Steelers, who went 12-4, were plus-124.

A win for Arizona would be GOOD for the NFL because it would give all low-lying teams hope for a quick turnaround and incentive to actually try.

Two years ago, Arizona went 5-11 and fired Dennis Green. Last year, they hired Ken Whisenhunt from the Pittsburgh staff and went 8-8.

The Cardinals' true surge started with the 2004 draft, which netted them superstar receiver Larry Fitzgerald (No. 3 overall, one slot after the Raiders selected Robert Gallery), linebacker Karlos Dansby (No. 33 overall, two slots after the 49ers selected Rashaun Woods) and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (No. 64 overall, six slots after the 49ers selected Shawntae Spencer).

A year later, Arizona signed Kurt Warner. In 2006, the Cardinals opened a new stadium in Glendale.

And now Fitzgerald is the best receiver on earth, Whisenhunt and Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin are the NFL's prototype young, stern coaches and Warner is aiming for Canton.

Right coach, right players, right quarterback, right division, new stadium "... that's all you need, Raiders and 49ers! (And Lions, Chiefs and Texans.)

Conclusion: Arizona is a fun Cinderella story, but if we're going to continue to take the NFL regular season seriously, Cinderella has to lose Sunday.

To paraphrase Bill Parcells, what makes the NFL great is that every team is what its record says it is. Once you lose that, you lose a lot.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com or (408) 920-5442.
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: Kawakami: Arizona Cardinals could do NFL a favor ... lose

He makes a good point, but if we want to start handing out Championships based on records, might as well start a BCS system... shudder....
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: Kawakami: Arizona Cardinals could do NFL a favor ... lose

That clock is inching nearer and nearer to midnight, Cards fans. It's gonna strike 12 on Sunday night.

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Old 01-26-2009, 11:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Kawakami: Arizona Cardinals could do NFL a favor ... lose

Great point, But what scares me is this

Quote:
Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post
...

Last year, the New York Giants were very talented but muddled through the regular season at 10-6 and scored only 22 more points than they allowed. That was before they got red hot and eventually toppled 16-0 New England (plus-315 in points differential) in the Super Bowl.

Two years ago, Indianapolis went 12-4 in the regular season but was only a plus-67 in points differential, and won the Super Bowl by beating Chicago, which was a plus-172.

Before the 2006 season, both Super Bowl entrants usually had points differentials above plus-100 and the winner often was closer to plus-200 — a sure sign of season dominance.

This year, the Cardinals had a plus-1 regular-season points differential. The Steelers, who went 12-4, were plus-124.

...
Last two Champions were Snow White & Sleeping Beauty (couldn't find better names for them when Arizona is being called Cinderella). (Yeah, I know it wasn't very good sarcasm).
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Old 01-26-2009, 12:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Kawakami: Arizona Cardinals could do NFL a favor ... lose

Stupid article IMO.

If a team is able to make the playoffs and win 3 games get to the superbowl, they clearly belong to be there. That's why they play the game. This isn't some kind of popularity contest with a statistical sideshow.

I'm sure this is what Parcells would say about this. If the team is 3-0 in the playoffs, they aren't exactly Cinderella.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: Kawakami: Arizona Cardinals could do NFL a favor ... lose

Is it Sunday yet?!?!?!
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Kawakami: Arizona Cardinals could do NFL a favor ... lose

HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO!! is it sunday yet.... bah this 2 week wait is killin me! And the article makes since in alot of ways!
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