Cancel the 2009 season...word has just filtered in, the Arizona Cardinals have already defended their Western Division Championship.
By winning their final three games against the Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams and the Green Bay Packers, the beloved Cardinals finished the season with a 10-6 record, a one game improvement over 2008.
It might be fun to relive some of the most exciting moments from this past year.
First off, the opening home victory over the 49ers and their new coach, Mike Singletary, proved what most Cards' fans already knew...they would be in for a tough, nasty defense of their title.
The following weeks seemed to trade one victory with one defeat. Midway through the year, the Cardinals were a lackluster 4 - 4...the fans were starting to grumble.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt would stable the ship and implore his players and the fans to stay patient; the best was yet to come.
Whisenhunt looked like genius as the Cardinals ripped off a home victory over the Seahawks and an infrequent road win over the hapless Rams in St Louis. When the front running Minnesota Vikings arrived at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6th, the sellout crowd implored the Cardinals to their best effort of the year.
A raucous on field celebration occurred when the final gun sounded.
This exciting victory was followed by an unexpected loss to the revenge minded 49ers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The fight on the team charter on the way back to Sky Harbor International caused the tensions to escalate.
Team owner Bill Bidwill calmly asked everyone to sit down and be quiet. To the surprise of everyone, the Cards followed directions to a tee. Mr Bidwill became an instant hero to all involved.
The Cards were sitting in a tie with the 49ers, both sporting identicle 7-6 records with just three games to play. Coach Whisenhunt called a closed door team meeting, everyone was curious who the guest speaker was going to be.
After a slight delay, the doors opened and in walked the aforementioned team owner, Bill Bidwill. Dressed in his customary bolero tie and bright Cardinal red sport coat, Bidwill astounded everyone when he gave an ultimatum:
"Win the final three games fellas, or there will be hell to pay".
The rest is history, the Cardinals dismantled the Detroit Lions and polished off the regular season with easy home victories over the Rams and Green Bay Packers. The Packer game was noteworthy as Brett Favre evidently played his last game in his familiar green and gold Packers' jersey.
The boisterous crowd gave him only a smattering of applause as the final horn sounded. After the game, Favre indicated he would make a statement regarding his future, later in the week.
Favre did not dispel the rumors that he is considering an ownership, playing, coaching role with the new Global Arena Football League in Bejing, China. The league is tentatively scheduled to open league operations in the Spring of 2011.
The Cardinals will be enjoying a week off until they open defense of their 2008 NFC Championship. All tickets have been sold.