I've lived in Arizona my whole life. I remember when the Cards came to town, I was still in high school.
I became a fan immediately and have been ever since. This doesn't sound like a big deal but it is.
In a city that has hated the team over the years I was the reject. The goofball that would always look forward to next season.
Of course there was 1998. Jake got us into the playoffs with an 8-8 record. We went to Dallas and beat the hated Cowboys in Texas Stadium. Not much could be sweeter.
That year is the best record I can remember the Cardinals having over the last 20 years. We were thrilled to be .500 in 1998.
For once we didn't finish with a losing record.
Those of you who have been there with me know what I'm talking about. Our typical record is 4-12 or something very similar. Put it this way, when we get a 5 or 6 win season we are ecstatic.
I have actually gone to Cardinals games at Sun Devil Stadium and been given free parking because I was the 1st person the attendant saw who was wearing the home team's jersey and hat.
I have been in the stands and been ridiculed by the opposing teams fans. All of which live in Arizona by the way.
I have been at home games and had peanuts and popcorn thrown at me because I was the only one wearing red.
The only time we would get to see the Cardinals on TV was when they were on the road or when they were playing the hated Cowboys. Most of the time there were only 30,000 people in a stadium that holds over 70,000
What's different now? Well for starters University Of Phoenix Stadium.
Now we really have a home field advantage. Every game since the new stadium opened has been on TV.
Another thing is that Mr. Bidwell has passed control of the team on to his son Michael. He seems to be on the right track.
Ken Wizenhunt is also a huge factor. He has brought a system and a
coaching style that the players have bought into. He makes roster moves for football reasons and that is rare with football coaches.
The biggest difference? Attitude! Attitude is everything.
Charles Swindoll said "life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.
We aren't losers anymore. We are winners. Every time the team takes the field they plan to win the game.
Those of you from cities where winning is a tradition won't understand this. When you lose for over 20 years you can't help but carry a losing attitude. You buy into the losing.
You expect to lose. You to think of it as acceptable.
We are winners now!
We are the NFC West Champs!
And guess what. It's not good enough. I want more. More regular season wins.
I want what all those other cities have had before. I want it now!
Will I get it now or ever? Who knows.
That's why they play the game.
Note: The bottom picture is my daughter getting an autograph from DE Antonio Smith.