As praised in today's SN column (though not quite in this way), the Cardinals' run to the Super Bowl is amazing on at least two levels:
To start, simply the fact that the Cardinals is going to the Super Bowl is huge on its face. (The Cardinals! The worst franchise in NFL history!)
But add on top of that, it's not like they were dominant this season or destined for the Super Bowl, like Kurt Warner's 1999 Rams team, which went from chump-ish to champs on a rail.
No, each and every week of these playoffs, the Cards have been discounted -- or counted out entirely. First round at home? Underdogs. Division round on the road? Underdogs. NFC Title Game at home? Underdogs. Meanwhile: Win, win, win. And decisively, each time.
It's a neat bit of judo: They are taking your expectations -- which couldn't be lower -- and using them to make their own accomplishments all the more incredible. If we EXPECTED them to win each week, it wouldn't nearly be as sweet as it is now.
For decades, the Cardinals were worse than losers -- they were irrelevant. Now: They are the latest incarnation of America's Team -- how can you root against them now?
But, please: Pick against them one more time.
Meanwhile, other things you'll find in today's SN column:
*Larry Fitzgerald has been elevated to NFL God status.
*Kurt Warner makes Tim Tebow look like an atheist.
*The McNabb Era is over in Philadelphia?
*The McGahee Era is over in Baltimore?
*Steve Spagnuolo will do more with less than Rex Ryan will do more with more.
*LeBron in a Browns jersey IS kind of awesome.
*Wake and Duke may be 1-2, but the Big East still rules.
Complete column here. More later. Enjoy your MLK Day -- the way the NBA treats it (with plenty of afternoon games and a marquee event -- Cavs-Lakers -- tonight) is kind of awesome.