As an outsider looking in (I have to say I am an avid American sports fan), the idea that a team from Arizona (via Racine, Chicago, and St. Louis) is in the Super Bowl is fantastic. However, what is all this bunk about 61 years in the making?
I keep hearing on ESPN and the NFL Network about how the Cardinals are the second-longest franchise to have been without any kind of win. It is false history, guys.
Who cares about the franchise? Certainly not the season ticket holders from St. Louis, who saw their team ripped away from them only to be replanted in Tempe, Ariz. They didn't even have their own stadium. They had to play at Sun Devil Stadium as their new nest didn't yet exist.
The Cardinals that are playing in Sunday's Super Bowl are mere babies with a history of 20 years. That is what should be been celebrated. That a team that has only been in existence for 20 years could be in the Super Bowl. It shows that anything is possible, a celebration of the American dream.
As a Carolinian now, I saw the Carolina Hurricanes win Lord Stanley's Cup (it was fantastic by the way) but what I remember most clearly, was seeing a short piece about Hartford fans who had had their beloved Whalers taken from them.
They were a sad but loyal bunch, all six of them. They had carried on following their team even though they were playing 650 miles south in Carolina.
The franchise system is just so very alien to me, I am an Ex-pat Englishman living in the United States. Sport to the English is all about tradition, but to have your team stolen from you just because the city won't buy you a stadium seems so very odd. It is just anti-American.
For a country that prides itself on it's laissez faire attitude to business, the teams don't build their own stadiums? The clubs' owners get their resident cities to build them for their residents? Build the team a stadium so the residents of this community can watch top class sport? Isn't that a bit Socialist?
No, you say. It is to raise the profile of the city and it helps to generate good feelings for it's residents. It all seems like blackmail to me. More a case of owners holding a city to ransom. Either you build me a new stadium or I will replant my team in Glendale, AZ.
And what about the thousands of non-fans that will have to pay the increased taxes for the next twenty years to pay for the new stadium? I am sure they love their new franchise stadium and their howling fans. It just isn't cricket.
Good luck to both sets of fans for the Super Bowl. It will be a great game and I will certainly be watching, as I love it, but before you have a go at the Englishman for talking about your great game.
Give a thought to the St. Louis Cardinals fans on Sunday that may still be sitting around a TV with their game shirts on and their foam hands from the last home game as St. Louis Cardinals.
A game that went into the NFL record books as the 12th greatest comeback in NFL history. Coming back in the fourth quarter from 28-3 down to beat the Buccaneers 31-28. Glory at the death for the Cardinals.