Last Sunday, Miami kicker Andrew Franks booted a 21-yard field goal squarely through the uprights as time expired, propelling the Dolphins to their seventh win in eight games. Cardinals fans who made the trek to rainy South Florida sat soaked and blinking, resisting the gravity of the consequences. An Arizona team that finished one game short of the Super Bowl last season was suddenly and bluntly out of playoff contention.
For Cardinals Nation, this realization was a little like learning that Pluto was no longer a planet or discovering too late that sweetbread is really the pancreas of a calf. When the underpinnings of understanding are warped, the task turns to shoring up one’s bearings.
Management, players and fans will have long months to assess the shortcomings of this season. But at some point, maybe in the fiery heat of the Sonoran summer, thoughts will shift from autopsy to optimism.
Meanwhile, Cardinals fans, the time may be ripe to scratch a few items off your bucket list, such as:
– Compiling the definitive guide to shorebirds of the North Atlantic
– Tugging on Donald Trump’s hair
– Wrestling Peter Dinklage
– Assembling a parliament of owls
– Smiting a foe with the jawbone of an ass
– Committing heinous acts of Twittery (see Donald Trump)
– Milking a yak
– Throwing beads to Barbara Bush during Mardi Gras, hoping to be flashed
…and so on.
Speaking of Mardi Gras, the New Orleans Saints parade into town today to take on the 5-7-1 Cardinals. On the field, the lovable Saints bring a long tradition of substandard football. Off the field, they’re part of a city rich with the traditions of Creole, crawfish, Cajuns, and yes, Mardi Gras, where the colors of purple, green and gold—symbolizing justice, faith and power—are found in the costumes and floats of the revelers.
Will a Cardinals team embittered by missing the playoffs take out their frustrations on the 5-8 Saints today? Or has their zeal for victory now faded?
Tune in for the answer at 1:05 p.m. PST today. And take a moment to notice the panning shots of the crowd at this season’s final home game. You’ll likely see a stadium awash in Cardinals red—and precious little purple, green or gold.
– Eric Forgaard
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