Monday, January 26, 2009

Who are the real Arizona Cardinals?

In case you didn't know, when it comes to major U.S. professional sports, football is the socialist one. It's the opposite of baseball, where the Yankees and Red Sox and a few other teams have tens of millions more than the others and buy expensive players and build dynasties (though certainly the teams with the highest payrolls do not always win -- just often). Football has revenue sharing, a salary cap, the draft and weird luck (as Barack Obama might have it, "there are no rich teams in football, no poor teams in football, just American teams.")

In football, teams sometimes go from being the worst in their division one year to winning it the next. There are perennial losers, yes. But compared with other sports, football allows the opportunity for so many teams to achieve, or at least to have hope.

With the Arizona Cardinals going to the Super Bowl, though, there's been something of a backlash in the interwebs and beyond. The Cardinals, many say, are just too mediocre. They made it to the Super Bowl with a lot of strange turns of luck. And this will now be the third year with oddball teams making it to and/or winning the game.

To Charles Pierce, "The Cardinals are a glorified Arena Football League team with a soft defense and a running game unworthy of the name. They are in the position that they're in because the NFL rigs its season worse than any carny rigs his wheel."

The Washington Post has a forum on the "Cinderella Teams." Dan Levy says "We need Goliaths in sports, because without them, there'd be no Davids to root for. But compelling drama in every game, every week... I think that's actually become more fun to watch." Gene Wang argues that the NFL looses out financially when teams with little national fandom play in the big games.

I think that football's equality makes it enjoyable to watch. And I don't feel guilty rooting for the Steelers over the Cardinals.


At 12:33 PM, Blogger KPd. said...

That will make watching the Super Bowl with you more fun as I will be rooting for the Cardinals. Go Kurt Warner!
Just so you know, it won't be quite the extravaganza of last year, but it should still be fun.


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