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News » Convince us: Cards blogger makes his case

Convince us: Cards blogger makes his case

Convince us: Cards blogger makes his case
This week, Fan-Sided Blogs editor Adam Best ponders which team he and all the other unrepresented NFL fans should root for this Super Bowl Sunday. Scott Allen, die-hard Arizona Cardinals fan and lead blogger of Raising Arizona, makes the case for his team.

Adam Best: Interestingly enough, the Cardinals are part of my family history. My late grandfather, Elmer "Beno" Best, played briefly for the Chicago Cardinals in the late 30s. Beno settled down in St. Louis, where he raised my old man. When the Cardinals moved to the STL in 1960, they were arguably the team's biggest fans living under the Arch. Because of Beno's ties, my dad even got to go down on the sidelines quite a few times.

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Super Bowl history:

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The St. Louis Cardinals had some pretty good players -- Charley Johnson, Conrad Dobler, Dan Dierdorf, Jim Hart, Mel Gray, Neil Lomax, Ottis Anderson, Roger Wehrli, etc. -- just never enough of them. In 1987, Bill Bidwill threatened to move the team if the city of St. Louis failed to meet his demands -- most notably a new stadium and practice facility. St. Louis and its people balked. They didn't want to make an even bigger investment in a franchise whose owner didn't seem committed to winning. After all, the team had been there for over a quarter century and hadn't hosted a single playoff game. Bidwill up and moved the Cardinals to Tempe, Arizona and the 30-year-old Sun Devil Stadium -- hardly a new facility.

My dad and many other Cardinals fans felt that Bidwill had duped the good people of St. Louis as much as he could, so he decided it was time to move on to a new batch of suckers. They felt like he never had any intention of assembling a winning football team, and that when they called him on it he bolted. Most other pro sports fans agreed. Bidwill has been considered one of the worst owners in pro sports ever since. My dad moved on to become a Chiefs fan, as I imagine a good deal of Cardinals fans did.

Bidwill didn't exactly discover a burning desire to win a Super Bowl once he arrived in the desert. In fact, he's owned the team since right before 1950, and this year was the first time a Bill Bidwill-owned Cardinals team had ever won a home playoff game. My old man thinks that the Cardinals' Super Bowl run is a fluke. Then again, he also still hates Bidwill's freakin' guts. He'd rather see just about anybody in the world but Bidwill hoist up that Lombardi Trophy this Sunday. I can't say that I blame him.

Then there's me. I was born in Kansas City in 1978 and hardly remember the St. Louis Cardinals. As a life-long Chiefs fan, I consider Arizona Cardinals fans kindred spirits of sorts. We've both been tortured over the years, so I can only imagine what it feels like as a deprived fan to finally have your team play in the Super Bowl. Being a 30-year-old Super Bowl virgin is no fun at all.

That being said, I'm flip-flopping on this one. Call me Adrian Wilson, because I'm all over the place. As my father's son, I detest Bill Bidwill down to his rotten core. I think he embodies everything that's wrong with pro sports. For that reason alone I want the Cardinals to lose. As a Chiefs fan, I know what it's like to suffer a long Super Bowl drought. For that reason alone I want the Cardinals to win.

The guy who screwed St. Louis or the deprived football fans of the desert? Tough call. tough call.

How can I possibly root for the Cardinals? I think a lot of us would like to root for the Cardinals against the hated Pittsburgh Steelers, but tell us how we possibly can root for a team owned and operated by the Bad News Bidwills. Over 90 percent of us are looking for a team this weekend -- tell us why it should be your Cardinals.

Scott Allen: I tell you, my friend, what I've been telling everyone else -- why not root for the Cardinals? You've accurately detailed just how bad the Cardinals have been; not only in Phoenix, but also in St. Louis and going back to the Chicago days as well. The Cardinals have been one of the long-time laughingstocks of the NFL. On the other hand, people are always on the lookout for an underdog, a real underdog. The Cardinals fit that mold.

They started the season on a high note, starting out 2-0, but quickly came to earth with two losses back East, culminating with the embarrassing 56-35 loss to the New York Jets. They not only lost the game, but lost Anquan Boldin for three weeks to a facial injury, which included a trip to the surgeon. He had to have screws put in his face -- screws!! Then he returns to action after only missing two games! How could you not root for a guy who cares so much about his job, that he does everything possible to get back on the field to help his team win. An ordinary guy, like myself, probably wouldn't have been able to do much for months, much less take the field for a 60-minute pounding from the Carolina Panthers -- the team he faced in his return.

Say what you want about Bidwill, too. Sure, he has been Mr. Tightwad over the years. However, in recent years, he has changed the way the Cardinals negotiate with agents and players. He has started to change his philosophy on how to conduct business in the NFL. His hard-nosed stance on escalators in contracts and not giving out long-term contracts is well documented. However, he listened to guys like general manager Rod Graves. Graves was able to bring in guys like Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Boldin, Steve Breaston, Darnell Dockett, Bertrand Berry, Karlos Dansby, Adrian Wilson, etc. Just 10-15 years ago, players of that caliber wanted nothing to do with Arizona. If a big name came here, it was only to chase the warm weather and the money no other team was willing to dole out.

I think of a story Graves told last week as he was driving home after the win against Philadelphia. It is a story I can resonate with. As he was driving home, he started thinking about his father, a former scout and player personnel executive himself. He started to cry as he was overcome with emotion as he realized what this team has accomplished so quickly, when just a month ago it appeared this team was dead heading into its Wild Card playoff game. I did the same thing as I was driving home after the win against the Eagles. I thought of my father, who died tragically of a massive heart attack in 1990 at the age of 43. He only knew the Cardinals in Arizona for two years.

Nonetheless, he was a huge fan. So much so that he immediately switched his main allegiance from the Chicago Bears -- whom he followed from his college years at Northwestern up until the time the Cards made it out West. We had season tickets that first year. I will never forget going to my first NFL games with my dad. I was only 15. How much would he have enjoyed this? Quite a lot. That type of emotion I'm sure played out all over the city. Only such an underdog for so many years could illicit such a response. We know what it feels like to lose for so long. It is important to remember our dearly departed Cardinals fans, those of us who are no longer here in person and are missing this extraordinary experience.

These aren't just Arizona's Cardinals, these are the underdog Cardinals that the rest of this country can fall behind. This team went from 2-0 to 7-3 to 7-5 to 9-7 and really won their division by default. Most people had written them off against Atlanta. Then again against Carolina. Then a third time against Philadelphia. The Cardinals didn't care they had a lack of respect. They tuned all that out. They only cared about taking care of themselves and giving their fans what they've been missing for so long -- a winner.

Now, they harness all that emotion, all of their momentum, and let it loose against the NFL's number one defense -- the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cardinals have come so far so fast; many experts have changed their opinions on the men in red and white and are predicting a Cardinals win. They recognize the job Bidwill, Graves and coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff have done to mold this team into a champion. They eliminated a culture of losing by convincing the players to focus on taking care of business, rather than caring what people say about them. They believed in the Cardinals when nobody believed in the Cardinals. They believed until people had to start believing in the Cardinals.

If you're a fan of underdog stories -- like "Rocky" and "Rudy" and all the real-life ones -- then how could you not root for the Cardinals this Sunday?

Get plenty of NFL coverage from the fans' perspective at Fan-Sided Blogs, an affiliate of Yardbarker.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009

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