Calais Campbell (Al Bello/Getty)
The Cardinals turned in their best season in decades, yet fell just short of truly shocking the world. Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner were spectacular, but the Steelers had one more drive in their back pocket. Arizona gave one of the best games in Super Bowl history. The Cardinals showed they belonged in the final showdown. So, cheer up Cardinal fans, here are five reasons to feel better.
1. Larry Fitzgerald is simply the best: The Steelers slowed Fitzgerald for part of the game, but before it ended he had made his way to the history books.
Fitzgerald blew away Jerry Rice’s previous playoff record for yards. At the young age of 25, he still has a ton of years left. As long as the Cardinals have Fitzgerald, they will be contenders in the NFC West.
2. The NFC West is still terrible: The Cardinals have a good chance to dominate the West for a quite a few years. Their defense is young and vastly improving and their offense will continue to shine as long as Warner keeps drinking from the fountain of youth. None of the other NFC West teams will be ready to truly contend for another three-four years.
3. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: This kid is going to be a top-tier corner in the NFL. His closing speed is remarkable and he has a penchant for big plays. He played solid throughout the playoffs and even contributes on a few offensive trick plays.
If the Cardinals can get another lockdown corner, their pass defense will greatly improve. Ro-Cro should lead the team in INT’s next season, barring a sophomore slump.
4. Kurt Warner wants to remain a Cardinal: Warner is as loyal a player as there is in the league. Arizona gave him a shot to start, when no other team would. While retirement has been on his mind of late, he would be foolish not to come back and give it one more shot with the potent offense.
Warner has openly said he will either resign with the Cardinals or retire. If only Anquan Boldin shared that sentiment.
5. The Bidwell Family wants to win: After years of being a bottom feeder, the Cardinals finally have a new stadium and a firm commitment to winning. After watching the revenue increases from four extra games, the Bidwells have surely seen the benefits of a competitive franchise.
This offseason will be a good indicator of the strength of their passion for winning. Karlos Dansby, Kurt Warner, and Anquan Boldin will all have contract issues to deal with. Sunday was a great day for the franchise, regardless of the outcome. With the exposure for the franchise and the dedication of Coach Ken Whisenhunt, the Cardinals could very well be avenging their loss this time next year.