Give the Cards credit: They had a great run to the Super Bowl in 2008, but for many years (well, since 2000) almost every Super Bowl loser has fared far worse the next year.
In fact, seven of the last eight runner-ups have not even made the playoffs and have averaged just over seven wins in their respective following seasons.
In reality, it hasn't always been this way.
In 1999, the Titans lost Super Bowl XXXIV to the Rams. The following year they went 13-3 and returned to the playoffs. In those days, it was not an unheard-of thing.
A team that makes it to the Super Bowl is supposedly still a very good team, and making the playoffs the next year is a given.
This ideology held true after the Giants lost Super Bowl XXXV. They were favored to win their division in 2001, thus the curse would begin.
The Giants fell to 7-9 and out of the playoffs the next year. The following year the Rams would fall to 7-9.
Then came the Raiders, who went 5-11 after their Super Bowl appearance in 2002 and haven't recovered since.
In 2004, the Panthers also declined to 7-9.
In 2005, the Eagles, after reaching the playoffs in five straight years, including four straight NFC title games and the Super Bowl, inevitably fell to 6-10.
In 2007, the Bears slipped to 7-9 and, finally, the Patriots, despite a winning record and tie for division lead at 11-5, also missed the playoffs in 2008.
The lone exception to that curse was the Seahawks, who, after losing Super Bowl XL, were, in fact, able to reach the playoffs in 2006, but they did win an incredibly weak division that year.Now, I realize history shouldn't always affect the future, but there's reason to believe that the Cardinals will in fact fall prey in 2009.
First, the 49ers are a team on the rise, and the Seahawks are even more dangerous.
Seattle was decimated by injuries and the knowledge that their coach was leaving after the season last year.
Also, add in the fact that their injuries were to their starting quarterback and virtually their entire receiving corps.
Since then they've added All-Pro receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, most everyone else, including Matt Hasselbeck, are back healthy.
They have a top-five draft pick, and new coach Jim Mora Jr. has proven that he can lead a team to victory.
The 49ers are also a team on the up tick. They have been a much, much better team since Mike Singletary took over.
They were 5-4 under him, including winning five of their last seven. They are headed in the right direction.
Now, let's look at the fact that the Cardinals have lost their offensive coordinator and have changed defensive coordinators.
Again, let's look at the facts. The Cardinals defense is bad. I'm aware of their improvement in the playoffs, but they still gave up an average of 22.25 points a game, and don't let that fool you.
They gave up plenty of yardage, and touchdowns, but were able to overcome the Falcons, Panthers, and Eagles thanks to nine turnovers and several other dumb mistakes by their opponents.
Let's also look at the fact that Edgerrin James suddenly became a force to be reckoned with in the postseason and that was crucial to their success.
The only reason he was suddenly so effective was because of how fresh he was.
Odds are he's going to get a lot more carries next season and thus fizzle out down the stretch.
This is, of course, saying he even plays for them at all. Remember, he does want a trade.
All this said, I do not believe that the Cardinals will be able to reach the playoffs next year.
I think their defense will suffer and the division will be much tougher.
I also believe that they will not get nearly the amount of breaks they got in the playoffs.