There are few professional franchises as inept as the Arizona Cardinals. With the possible exception -- and even this is debatable -- only the L.A. Clippers have sustained a longer period of utter hopelessness. It could be said that the Cardinals' woes are more acute, given the constant parity and turnover in the NFL. The NBA is a constant uphill climb toward success; in the NFL, being so bad for so long is as due to bad luck as institutional problems.
But the Cardinals have been bad for 20 years. Not only have they been bad, but their fans were few and far between. So many games in the old Sun Devil Stadium were played in front of empty red seats ... it was sad. Especially when the Bears would lose. But that's story for a different day.
No, today we're here to congratulate the Cardinals. Seriously. They're jubilant out there in the desert today, not only because they won in such spectacular fashion Saturday (Larry Fitzgerald is like a really muscular, sure-handed ballet dancer), but because the Eagles upset the Giants last night and, as a result, the Cardinals get to host the NFC Championship Game at their nearly-brand-new monstrosity of a stadium in Glendale.
Think they're excited in Arizona? Arizona Republic columnist Dan Bickley is already calling this weekend's game "the most powerful sporting event this state has ever seen." Think, if the Giants would have won, Mike Lupica would be writing the same?
We're thinking no. Which is also why we're rooting for the Cardinals this weekend -- it's hard for us cynical types to get too caught up in the underdog story -- but for a suffering group of football fans, fans suffering so badly they barely existed a few years ago, we can put on the bandwagon hat.