From the Cheap Seats –
Arizona Cardinals – The Roll Continues
After the celebration of last week’s monumental victory over the Patriots, Cardinal fans were riding high and were quite pumped for the upcoming game against the Philadelphia Eagles. As a fan, it had been a few years since I had seen this sort of excitement about the Cardinals and the confidence that we had in the team.
But for many fans there was a guarded optimism as far as the production at quarterback from Kevin Kolb. We were all glad to see his performance inNew Englandbut we were equally as anxious to see what his performance would be against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.
The game was dominated by the Arizona Cardinals defense. The defense continuously put the offense in a good position keeping the Eagles out of the end zone for the entire game. All they could do is muster six points from two field goals. The Cardinals offense looked solid and Kevin Kolb had a solid performance at quarterback.
As usual my view from the cheap seats will not break down the X’s and O’s of the game, everybody and their mother is doing that. No, I want to touch on some issues that are both good and tiresome. Let’s start with the good. As of right now all of the Kevin Kolb haters have jumped on the bandwagon and that’s a good thing because this young kid needed the support from the hometown fans. God knows how hard it’s been for him to deal with thePhoenixfans booing him during training camp. I’ve had plenty to say whether fans should be doing that and I must admit I was right, you should never boo your own players especially come game time.
But there were two plays in the game that I felt were huge. Just prior to halftime, the Philadelphia Eagles were on the one-yard line ready to put the ball in the end zone. They decided to forgo the three points and try for a touchdown. As you may have seen in the replays they didn’t make it. But the play prior to the fumble return for a touchdown, Kerry Rhodes made a tackle on the wide receiver of the Eagles at the one-yard line keeping him from the end zone. That was a huge play on theRhodespart and it’s just another example of how the Cardinals are improving. The past few years the Cardinals defense, even though much improved, had done a terrible job of tackling. Too many defensive players try to tackle with their shoulder pads and knock the player down or out of bounds. But any football player will tell you that you have to wrap up the runner and take it to the ground and that’s exactly what Kerry Rhodes did. His effort made it possible for the next play where he caused the fumble by Michael Vick which was returned for the touchdown.
The touchdown play itself was a testimony to the hard work by the defense. James Saunders picked up the loose ball and started down the field only to be surrounded by his fellow defensive players. But one young man in particular made a spectacular effort and that was Daryl Washington. Once the players started running down the sideline,Washingtonwas trailing the play by about 5 yards but he kept his head up and saw a lonePhiladelphiaplayer in a position to make a tackle. If the tackle is made the Cardinals don’t get the touchdown and the first half comes to an end.Washingtonthen goes into a full sprint, moving out in front of the entire bunch of players to take on that lonePhiladelphiaplayer and he puts a good block on him and prevents him from stopping the Cardinals runner. The Cardinals take it back 93 yards for a touchdown but in those stat pages, no one will seeWashington’s effort to make that block. My hat goes off to Kerry Rhodes and Daryl Washington for their effort.
Now the part that gets tiresome to me is the lack of respect for the Arizona Cardinals from the national media. Last week after upsetting the Patriots one would think that ESPN would show some respect for the Cardinals but a majority of the TV coverage was given to the New York Giants in their comeback win over a team they should have beaten to start with. So now when the undefeated Cardinals met the undefeated Eagles, it seems like we should have gotten a little more airtime on their shows, but we didn’t. We got to see plenty of replays of Tim Tebow getting plunked in the head by a pass from Mark Sanchez, real newsworthy stuff.
The East Coast bias that exists in sports and is perpetuated by ESPN absolutely makes me sick. It seems like if it didn’t happen east of theMississippithen it isn’t newsworthy. I’d be a fool to think that this will ever change because it won’t. ESPN is based out ofNew Yorkand only teams in that area will get the coverage. Those are all teams that most of the country can’t stand and that includes their fans. But if the Cardinals will keep their nose to the grindstone and continue to play hard and near error-free football we will get their attention and people watch us play for a Super Bowl championship. I’m sure all you fans from back East are laughing at that statement but you laughed in 2008 and we were one bad call from winning the Super Bowl.
Either way the fans here in the Valley of the Sun are charged up once again and it’s good to see all the fair weather fans out buying their new Cardinals T-shirts at the grocery stores. The Cardinals can use the additional support because that way there will be less and less tickets available for those obnoxious fans from back East to buy when their teams come to play the Cardinals. It is truly a blessing to see that sea of red fill the stadium with just a spattering a fans from the other team.
Excellent game Cardinals! Truly excellent!