Larry Fitzgerald would like to argue against the use of sleeves in football
A few years ago, as part of our craven attempts to usher the SportSquee readers into football fandom, we produced a series dissecting each team in the NFL. Since that time, and especially in the last six months, there have been major changes in the National Football League, necessitating a fresh look at guiding you toward your new favorite football team. Consider us the Match.com of fans and football teams.
Team: Arizona Cardinals
Divison: NFC West
Famous For: Almost pulling off a miracle comeback vs the Steelers in the Super Bowl, before Santonio Holmes yanked that miracle out of the sky, tucked it, and kept his toes in bound.
Headlining Alumni: Rod Tidwell
Quarterback(s): Derek Anderson, Matt Leinart, some kids
Why You Should Root For Them: Well, firstly, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Watching him play is a plain old treat. He doesn't just catch the ball, he leaps, dives, twists, pirhouettes, jetes, and pas de chats his way around the football field. Also, hot. Needs to be said. If you like a big air game, Arizona should be a natural fit. They rarely run the ball and are stacked at wide receiver with Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, and Early Doucet. The Cardinals are the Little Team That Could in a lot of ways. They toiled on the edge of obscurity in the NFL's worst division. Seriously, the most famous player to don the Cards jersey, was a fictional wide receiver played by Cuba Gooding Jr. But the Cardinals quietly became pretty good. They drafted Matt Leinart out of USC and brought in the NFL's own Lazarus, Kurt Warner for veteran support. Leinart never developed into the franchise guy they hoped he would (though, admittedly, there is still time) but Warner showed up in a big way. His arm was still as fiery and accurate as ever, and he had stellar targets in Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. The three led the Cards to one of the more exciting Super Bowl games in recent memory. Although this season marks many changes and a return to possible limbo for the team, the turnaround makes it far more palatable to root for them, knowing that they have potential to turn things around. Plus, they boast one of the nicest stadiums in the country, with a natural grass field that slides in and out of the stadium. And it's just a ten minute drive from this bodega that serves the best burritos I've ever had. Definitely worth the road trip. The Cardinals have several likable dudes including religious studies major RB Tim Hightower, scary DT Darnell Dockett, and bruising, fumble-prone Beanie Wells. And they have some amazing names, too. Speedy cornerback with a name that sounds like a a tough-as-nails corporate matriarch on Dynasty, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. And a running back/returner who sounds like he churns out gothic-tinged horror novels in LaRod Stephens-Howling.
Why You Shouldn't Root For Them: The Cardinals of this season are going to look very different than the Cardinals of last season. Gone are Anquan Boldin (to the Ravens), Karlos Dansby (to the stupid Dolphins), and Kurt Warner (to a mercifully quiet retirement--ahem, Favre). And coming in are former Jets favorites Kerry Rhodes and Alan Faneca, Steelers legend and bare midriff champion Joey Porter, and one of the sacrificial lambs of the Cleveland Browns, Derek Anderson. Leinart and Anderson will presumably compete in camp for the starting job. And it's anyone's guess as to who is going to get the gig (though, we guess Leinart). When Leinart did start, he was perfectly cromulent until felled by injuries. Anderson was a revelation a few years ago with the Browns (prompting SportSquee to give him a ringing endorsement as a player to watch, which we are too embarrassed to link to now) and then things got really shitty. It's hard to tell if Anderson sucked or if it was the collective ineptitude of the Browns as a whole (because there was a lot of ineptitude). But Leinart has never acheived the highs that Anderson did, but he also never experienced the lows. The quarterback issue will be a real question mark going into the season, especially for a team built around a lot of passing. That level of uncertainty may be enough to turn you off to the Cardinals altogether.
Potential Boyfriends: Larry Fitzgerald, Kerry Rhodes, Steve Breaston