In just a few short days, the Arizona Cardinals will pour out of the gate onto Raymond James Stadium as the underdogs in Super Bow XLIII.
Their mission: to take down Big Ben and the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in pursuit of their first NFL championship.
At least, that's the goal as far as the Cardinals players and fans are concerned.
But for those of us who live in the greater metropolitan area of San Francisco, the Cardinals' mission is far more important to the sanctity of all that is good in the world.
On this coming Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers will go for their sixth Super Bowl victory. And the only thing that stands in their way is a flock of birds playing the most inspired football of their lives.
If you are a fan of the 49ers (or the Cowboys), you should be praying every second from now until game time to the higher power of Kurt Warner's choosing that the Steelers pull the biggest choke job history has witnessed since Mama Cass bit off more than she could chew back in 1974.
Because if the Steelers emerge victorious from the battle in Tampa, they will lay claim to the title of greatest franchise in modern NFL history, as judged by Super Bowl victories.
Three NFL teams are currently tied for the most Super Bowl titles of all time: The 49ers, the Cowboys, and the Steelers each have won five such championships. However, unlike America's Team or the Steel Curtain, the Niners have never blown an opportunity to capitalize on the most important game of the year and take home the Vince Lombardi trophy.
Our San Francisco 49ers are a perfect 5-0 in America's most widely watched sporting event. Every time we have been in the hunt, we were the very best team the league had to offer, and played top-notch, quality football when it mattered most.
Despite what the haters may say, we are currently the greatest franchise the NFL has ever seen.
We invented the offensive scheme that has revolutionized the league over the past 25 years; we watched the greatest player to ever lay his hands on a football dazzle us throughout the '80s and '90s.
We were the epitome of class, tradition, and excellence in a league that has since been corrupted by pampered athletes and parity so extreme that even Kerry Collins has almost had the privilege of slipping on a Super Bowl ring…twice.
That being said, the glory of the San Francisco 49ers could all come crashing down in a hurry, should Mike Tomlin and the league's best defense clutch up this Sunday.
No matter how you spin it, six is more than five. Another Super Bowl victory for Pittsburgh makes our undefeated championship record suddenly irrelevant.
We all knew this moment was coming; it had to come eventually. We couldn't possibly expect that after nearly a decade of incompetent management and disgraceful play, the Niners wouldn't leave themselves vulnerable to such an atrocity.
Now here we are, three days away from Armageddon. Make no mistake about it: a loss for the Cardinals is also a loss for us.
History is on the line, and we, the 49er Faithful, must put all of our hope for a better world into one man and one team:
A fanatically religious system quarterback whose career should have been over a long time ago is somehow making a bid for himself in Canton. And a franchise that, despite being around since the inception of the NFL in 1922 and stints in three different cities, has never hesitated to make the Los Angeles Clippers look like the Los Angeles Lakers.
This Sunday, we root for Kurt Warner and the Cards. Both were once our division foes, but, in this time of looming tragedy, we must put aside our past rivalries and extend our arms in friendship.
Despite our obvious interest in allying with Arizona, I have been greatly disturbed to hear numerous Niner fans throwing their support behind Pittsburgh. The justifications for this choice have ranged from the illogical "the Cardinals will forever be division rivals" to the downright preposterous "I don't want Kurt Warner to make the Hall of Fame."
To those 49ers fans who have assumed such positions, please consider the history of this fine organization. Think about how it will feel when Steelers fans refer to their team as the "greatest of all time" and you just have to sit there and lap it up.
The Cardinals are our only hope. So put down your crack pipe and pick up the latest edition of Gideon's Bible—it's Warner time.
To offer some extra incentive for those of Niner Nation who have been led astray by their short-term thinking, I now present to you 10 reasons why the Cardinals must win Super Bowl XLIII.
The ten men I am about to mention sacrificed for you, Joe 49ers fan. They gave 110 percent each and every Sunday so that you could have the opportunity to witness some of the greatest football ever played. Because of them, you've up until now had permanent bragging rights over your contemporaries who root for less worthy adversaries.
These fine men of Red and Gold were destined for athletic greatness since birth—you, on the other hand, were destined for a beer gut and a life of spectatorship. While these warriors could have used their talents for mere personal gain, they instead choose to provide to you the sporting experience of a lifetime.
When you're watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, remember these men. Think about the glorious memories they gave you and how little they have asked for in return.
In other words, show a little appreciation and stop being such an ungrateful prick. The Cardinals must win on Sunday, and you must cheer them on the entire time with every ounce of decency you can find.