Larry Fitzgerald (Scott Halleran/Getty)
The Arizona Cardinals have incorporated gadget plays throughout the season. When successful, the plays worked for big chunks of yardage or a touchdown, which makes Ken Whisenhunt a fan. But will the Cardinals stick to the basics in the Super Bowl or continue to spice it up in Tampa Bay?
Call it a trick play, a gimmick play or a gadget play, the Arizona Cardinals are believers. The Cardinals threw all their tricks in the blender this season, and the mixture yielded a Super Bowl appearance.
The most recent gadget play was a flea flicker used in the NFC Championship game that resulted in a 62-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley and Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt certainly have more tricks up their sleeves for the Super Bowl.
But Whisenhunt is weary of adding too many extra plays to the playbook for Sunday, although he did save some spots just for that. And Haley isn't timid about attempting to throw off the competition.
Over the next few days, the two will build on the game plan.
The decision to incorporate gadget plays is two-fold. The Steelers defend well against the run and the pass. Tricking Pittsburgh will be difficult. On the other hand, if the Cardinals can get away with delving into the playbook, an executed trick play could get Arizona back in the game if the game doesn’t go as planned.
“When you have those type of plays, much like some of the big plays that Larry [Fitzgerald] has had for us it kind of ignites your team and gives your offense some confidence so they can be successful, and it charges up the defense,” Coach Whisenhunt said.
“Whenever you have a big play it gets the juices flowing, so I think that’s a big part of the reason that we have them and why we use them. Even though it is a risk-reward situation, if you do pull it off, there are bigger rewards from the standpoint of what it does for the team.”
Edgerrin James isn’t a fan. He said the key to winning in the postseason is running the football, which the Cardinals have done more successfully in the postseason than any other time this year.
"You can play gadget-ball during the regular season and win games, but you'd better have balance at this time of year,” James said. “If you don't, you're done."
If the Cardinals find themselves in a come from behind situation, the Cardinals will fight to the finish.
“The one thing that we have been pretty consistent with is in games that we’ve gotten down we have worked hard to come back, and we have been able to put some points on the board, even though we didn’t do that in New England obviously,” Whisenhunt said. “You never know how the games going to go. I feel like we’ve been doing some good things offensively, especially in the playoffs. If it came to that type of situation, I would expect our team to respond.”
Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for Scout.com. Her analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports.