There were some fans saying we shouldn’t even try to make the playoffs, given how bad our division is, and this was said weeks ago, when the playoffs were still a realistic possibility. Because, the theory goes, whoever wins the NFC West will get blown out in the playoffs anyway. Their secondary reason is draft position.
I have to think any fan advocating losing their remaining games isn’t truly a fan. First of all, we still have a remaining game against San Francisco, and any way to make their season more miserable is a positive for an Arizona Cardinals fan.
While our road to the playoffs is nearly nonexistent, the 49ers could realistically still make the playoffs if St Louis and Seattle lose their remaining games—which is a definite possibility. Ruining their season is one of the few joys left this season for a Cardinals fan.
However, there are other reasons which are much more crucial for this Arizona Cardinals football team.
Regarding the playoffs and those who were saying the Cardinals are so bad they shouldn’t even try—the playoffs are an experience you can’t get anywhere else. To throw that away is ridiculous. That experience of play or go home, of every play counts—that can’t be reconstructed in any other environment. It’s something every player takes with him going forward.
Even if we discount the playoffs, since it’s not likely the Cardinals will advance, winning still matters. The term “Same ol’ Cardinals” doesn’t come lightly. It’s not an offhand comment. It’s a deep-seeded belief, a feeling, an experience.
Sacrificing wins and saying you’ll make it up next year with draft picks is the same as NBA players saying they’ll “turn it on” in the playoffs. It never happens. And you can’t count on draft picks. The Cardinals have proven that more than anyone.
Our Arizona Cardinals have a tremendous history of losing. It’s almost like a curse. It’s indescribable. It’s the feeling of, when you lose, by some fluke of football, you sigh and chug another beer and say to yourself, “Same old Cardinals.”
It’s so deep-felt that when you win a game you shouldn’t feel guilt. It weighs so heavily on your football soul that instead of thinking of ways you should have won, you list a myriad of reasons you deserved to lose.
This is the perception Whisenhunt is still fighting against.
To simply give up isn’t an option. To simply give away wins turns us into those Cardinals of the past. For Whisenhunt and the rest of this team to do so would prove that they are the same old Cardinals.