Leader Blues

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SPORTS>>Cardinals in the Super Bowl? What’s next?

By KELLY FENTON
Leader sports editor

Maybe it was that double-strength Ambien I took the night before or the new Venezuelan coffee I drank the following morning. I don’t know which, but something has to account for the headline I thought I saw when I opened the paper on Monday morning.
Promise not to send the silly wagon to my house when I tell you that I’m almost certain I read the following in the sports section the other day: Arizona-Pittsburgh to meet in Super Bowl.

My first thought was that, this wasn’t the Super Bowl they were talking about, not the annual battle to determine the best team in the NFL. Couldn’t be that, not with the Arizona Cardinals as a participant. The Cardinals, after all, are a franchise so identified with futility that Chicago Cubs fans pity them.

Must be some sort of bowling story, I figured. Super Bowl must be some clever name for a kegglers’ competition. Bowling’s hot right now. Cabot’s Allfam just hosted an NCAA tournament, after all.

But, no, it turns out it was THE Super Bowl and it was THE Arizona Cardinals who were the NFC Champions, the same Cardinals who, a few weeks back, were gathered around their space heaters in the locker room while the New England Patriots scored about a thousand points on them.

The Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl makes sense. They were there just three years ago — won it, in fact. They’ve been there about a dozen times, it seems. No mystery there. But the Cardinals, well, now that just hardly makes any sense at all. In fact, I got to thinking of headlines that I thought I’d see before the one that made me choke on my Cheerios on Monday:

– Bowling replaces hockey as top spectator sport

– BCS admits it misplaced a decimal, declares Texas national champion

– Michael Phelps rescued from wading pool at Big Splash Amusement Park

– Shiloh Christian shuts down football program due to low turnout

– Brett Favre pleads with media to just leave him alone

– Tim Tebow blames deity for three-interception game, converts to Islam

– Studies reveal Duke can’t get a break from referees

– 400-pound Kansas football coach Mark Mangino releases ‘Tighten Those Glutes, Flatten Those Abs!’ exercise video

– NFL team eschews coaching carousel, hires first-time head coach

– Drive Time Sports host Randy Rainwater receives honorary doctorate in English, recites Shakespeare soliloquy at ceremony

– Harding University opens up first co-ed dorm ... complete with mini-bars!

– Spread offense catching on at Cabot

– NBA All-Star game a defensive struggle

– Historians cite eloquence, humility for George Bush’s ranking as Best President Ever

– Marbury, Artest neck-in-neck for NBA Sportsmanship Award

– Fellow golfers intervene, tell Daly he is ‘dangerously’ thin

– Wally Hall discovers non-awkward way to use first-person references