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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Cardinals just might pull it off

By Bryan Chouinard

“The Bears are who we thought they were!”
Those are the famous words of former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green in his now infamous postgame press conference after an embarrassing fourth quarter collapse against the Bears in 2006.

Flash-forward to the present day8212;the Arizona Cardinals are NOT who we thought they were.
I challenge anyone who can tell me with a straight face that before this season began, they picked the Arizona Cardinals to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLIII.

Anyone? Anyone?
Picking the Cards to get to the Super Bowl would be like picking the Tampa Bay Rays to reach the World Series8212;you just couldn’t have seen it coming. You can even go back to the first round of the playoffs8212;less than a month ago Arizona was being billed as “the worst playoff team in NFL history,” underdogs to a rookie quarterback in their own house.

But this is a different team from the 9-7 Cardinals that won the sorry excuse of a conference that is the NFC West.
We have all heard about how the offense, headlined by Larry Fitzgerald, makes opposing secondaries quiver. Fitzgerald, who has been nothing short of a freak over the past three weeks, has hauled in more than 400 receiving yards along with five touchdown receptions in the playoffs alone.

But we can’t forget about the other members of this receiving corps8212;disgruntled Pro-Bowler Anquan Boldin and second-year wideout Steve Breaston, both of whom had more than 1,000 receiving yards on the year.

We musn’t leave out the orchestrator of this concerto, however. A former grocery store bagger, Kurt Warner was left for dead by both the Giants and Rams, but after signing with the Cardinals, Warner beat out first-round draft pick and former Heisman winner Matt Leinart for the starting job.

You would be hard pressed to find a better rags-to-riches story, but there must be an end to every story and at the age of 37, Warner is definitely writing the closing chapters to his football career.

And what better way to end it than with a Super Bowl ring?
With retirement right around the corner, Warner knows this could be his final shot at solidifying his place in the Hall of Fame. His teammates know this as well, and are sure to be playing inspired football not only for their city, but for their quarterback as well.

However, the truly astonishing thing about the Cardinals’ run from obscurity to NFC champs is the improved play of their defense.

This was a team that in the regular season gave up more than 30 points five different times, all five of which were losses. But since entering the playoffs, the Arizona defense has dominated the line of scrimmage. In all three games, no one has rushed for 100 yards on the Cards, including the likes of Atlanta’s Michael Turner, Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams and Philadelphia’s Brian Westbrook.

In addition, the Arizona defense has forced 12 turnovers during the three-game stretch.
Now, I’m sure a lot of you will still pick the Steelers to win it all Sunday. I was sure the Tampa Bay Rays wouldn’t reach the World Series, just as I was sure the Cardinals wouldn’t be playing in the Super Bowl. I guess we just can’t be so sure about things anymore.

But one thing is for sure8212;the Cardinals are not who we thought they were.
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Bryan Chouinard

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