What a wacky few weeks it’s been. We went from wondering if the Cardinals would be able to finish the regular season with a winning record, to watching them dispose of two teams from what many consider to be the toughest division in the NFL in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
If I said I expected this, I’d be lying to you like Kobe to his wife after a trip to a Colorado resort. That said, when I size up the matchup in Sunday’s NFC Championship game and just look at it as a football game (which is actually what it is), I can’t help but think the Cards are going to win and go to Tampa as one of the last 2 teams standing in the NFL. It’s when I think about the magnitude of this prediction (actually picking the Cardinals to go to the Super Bowl) that doubt starts to sink in, not when I think about whether or not this team can beat the Eagles.
Sure I’m aware of how good and dominant the Eagles defense has looked lately. And, yes, I’m familiar with the fact that Philly has been there before (5 title games in 8 years). I also know that they embarrassed the Cards on Thanksgiving night and just shut down the defending champs on the road. None of these factors are enough to convince me that the Eagles are ready to roll into what will be an absolutely electric atmosphere in Glendale and come out victorious.
Keep in mind, this is coming from a guy who is an admitted fan of both the star quarterback and wide receiver who will be wearing green and white. I went to school with Donovan McNabb at da ‘Cuse and frequently played pickup basketball with him while also contributing on a radio show with the man I consider to be one of the best “guys” in sports. His rookie wideout Desean Jackson also became a favorite of mine several years ago while lighting up the highlight reels for my beloved Golden Bears at Cal.
The big reason I think Arizona accomplishes the unthinkable on Sunday is the respect factor. While many of my cohorts will disagree and give the mental edge to Philly thanks to their 48-20 Turkey Day victory, I strenuously object to that notion. When the Eagles line up Sunday and look across at their opponent, no matter how much their coaches have stressed during the last week of preperation, they will remember blitzing Big Red right out of the city of Brotherly Love. Sure they might be filled with confidence thanks to that memory, but it’s human nature for them to think they are facing a subpar opponent and thus have a lack of respect for who their up against. Meanwhile, the Cards will definitely recall being embarrassed by that team and add that to the long list of things that have propelled them to wear tee shirts with the phrase “Prove It” around the lockerroom this week.
The other factor that can’t be overlooked is the home field advantage which will once again play a huge role on Sunday. As I prepare to man the P.A. booth at University of Phoenix Stadium, I can’t wait to see and hear what you Cardinals fans are capable of this weekend and look forward to what will without a doubt be one of the most memorable sporting events I’ve ever been a part of.
No you’re not dreaming…the Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl!!!!