Today much of the country is in the throes of a Super Bowl hangover, as we were treated to one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory, if not one of the best of all time. It ended with the favored Steelers adding to their legacy and "Steel Curtain" mystique with yet another "W," making six. Yet, for me, the biggest treat was watching the heroic and inspiring performance from Kurt Warner and the rest of his teammates.
Arizona could have been content to simply have arrived at the big game and then rolled over for the big, bad boys in black and yellow from Steeltown. Instead, we saw some tough defense in the Cardinals limiting the Steelers to a field goal on their opening drive. The Steelers managed a touchdown after that, but so did the Cardinals. At the end of the first half, the Cardinals could have twisted a dagger by scoring yet again and getting the ball first after halftime. Instead, they throw an interception, which swings seven points the Steelers way in the longest play in Super Bowl history, dropping them back by 10 points. That interception runback could have deflated them but in the third quarter, after the cool halftime show from Bruce Springsteen, they played well on defense in limiting the Steelers to only three more points. For the fourth quarter, the Cardinals played some of the most glorious football I have ever seen. They drove for one quick score even though the defense managed to sack Kurt Warner and harass him. The defense forced a punt, and when the Cardinal offense fell short, they executed a perfect punt in return, hemming the Steelers perilously deep in their territory. On third down, after two failed passes, the defense should have sacked Big Ben and did, in effect, due to a hold from a Steeler's lineman. This brought a safety and a free kick. Though the punter sailed a good one to put the Cardinals in deep field position, they pulled off one of the most beautiful pass plays ever, the 80+ yard piece of poetry to Larry Fitzgerald. Being for the underdog and somewhat of a Cardinals fan (many moons ago I lived in Southern Illinois), I shouted for joy, yet at the same time said "Too bad they scored so quickly and left so much time for a comeback." And we all know what happened after that.
Whether the Cardinals return to mediocrity during the upcoming seasons remains to be seen. Yet they can all hang their hat on their Super Bowl performance as one of the greatest ever.