Terrelle Smith and Gabe Watson of the Arizona Cardinals are overwhelmed with emotion after the team’s victory having just earned a berth in the NFC championship game with a 32-25 defeat of the Philadelphia Eagles. picture appears courtesy of getty images/Chris Graythen ……….
And you know what took place during that infamous game against the New England Patriots ? We saw the play of Terrell Owens and the seemingly meltdown of Donovan McNabb. Owens’ calling out of the player in the aftermath of the loss was about as much to expect from Owens himself. Never one to take responsibility for his own shortcomings. But then again what primadonna player out there ever is ?
Sunday’s NFC championship game against this year’s Cinderella story in the guise of the Arizona Cardinals, was one for the ages. Both teams played at an exceptionally high level. McNabb himself was out there to set himself apart and to answer those who felt that he was past his prime. His counterpart for the Cardinals was the ageless wonder Kurt Warner. And when one considers that Warner has all but placed this team on his shoulders and guided them to their first postseason in ages. One can understand the reason why .this story more than any other this postseason has been the one that everyone has been talking about.
A somewhat inconsolable Donovan McNabb as the postgame interview in Glendale, Arizona . picture appears courtesy of getty images /Chris Graythen ………………
The Arizona Cardinals all but thought of as an afterthought , the franchise has played with abandonment and passion this postseason. In doing so they’ve taken care of the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. That not being enough to prove their prowess this postseason they then had to face Eagles. Who for if anything the NFC championship game as such has been a home away from home as such over the last decade. Ken Whisenhunt as coach of the Cardinals has placed this team at the pinnacle of a season that was totally unexpected to many within the NFL and their fans. With their offensive potency and a defense that has been playing above themselves during this postseason. It was expected that the Arizona Cardinals would be the cannon fodder for the physical play of the Philadelphia Eagles.
For two quarters this game was everything that the Cardinals’ fan had wished for and more. Taking a 24-6 lead many thought the game to be all but over. And with the Eagles facing almost certain elimination Donovan McNabb took it upon himself to lead this team back into the game. Well he did that and it seemed that this was to be their day. And with McNabb we know that he’ll either succumb under real pressure or he’ll just fall short of what’s expected. Well McNabb didn’t disappoint as he led the Eagles back into contention with a chance to win the game. A 25-24 lead with two and a half minutes to play must’ve seemed a godsend to the Eagles’ fans and those watching live on broadcast television. What then transpired was enough to make you believe that there is such a thing as fairy tales.
Cardinals’ strength coach John Lott congratulates Kurt Warner after the team’s victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in a game played in Glendale , Arizona. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Chris Graythen ………………….
Kurt Warner given enough time can and has shred a defense apart with his play. And with him having hooked up with Larry Fitzgerald three times in the first half. It begs the question why didn’t the Eagles have their defense keeping a watchful eye on Tim Hightower ? But then again these sort of lapses do happen . And it all but led to the Eagles’ day ending in sorrow. Not only did Hightower score the winning touchdown. But the Cardinals went on to score on the two point conversion thereby putting the game beyond the Eagles’ reach. If nothing else for Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb this may well have been their last chance and grasp of the one professional prize that has eluded them both over the course their professional careers in the NFL. And if anything one can assume that it had to have been heartbreaking for not only their fans but also the players themselves.
Edgerrin James of the Cardinals is tackled by Eagles’ safety Brian Dawkins . picture appears courtesy of getty images/Phil Dallhauser ……………………..
The result 32-25 now guarantees Whisenhunt’s team a berth as the NFC representative in Superbowl XLIII in Tampa on the 1st February. Their opponents there will be the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers will be looking to raise the Lombardi trophy for the sixth time. And with their coach Mike Tomlin looking to become only the second African American coach to win a Superbowl as a coach. Some historic precedences will be set whomever raises the trophy.
It’s been a long time coming for the Arizona Cardinals but it may well be a long time before we’ll ever see the Philadelphia Eagles again in this sort of a scenario. So close but yet so far away.