Utter embarrassment doesn’t adequately describe the 2008 matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and the New England Patriots. After a 47-7 loss, the Cardinals experienced a swift dissipation of division-winning pride as they walked away with heavy hearts from a snow covered field. It wasn’t quite the early Christmas emotion that fans were hoping for either. The reasons we love football are the same reasons we hate football. We yell, curse, jump, hug, kiss, dance, pray, scream, and cheer at the 3rd down conversions, losses, bad calls, touchdowns, first downs, and wins.
Related – Patriot’s Corner: An Ode to the Ticket
The Patriots were heavily favored in Week 2, what did hope (and trepidation) look like in the mind of a Cardinals fan this time around?
The Cardinals are underestimated every game.
It was NOT going to be 30 degrees and snowing.
The Cardinals were relatively unfamiliar territory to the Patriots.
Instead of QB Matt Cassel, the Cardinals were facing Tom Brady.
The Patriots were 10-0 opening at home.
The Cardinals are still somewhat unfamiliar territory to themselves.
The Patriots were 9-1 in their last 10 games, which may not come as a big surprise to anyone in the NFL community. Downplayed by the preseason quarterback contest, recent injuries, and recognized inconsistencies, the more elusive fact was the Cardinals were 8-2. Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was quick to acknowledge this among several media sources in the week preceding the game.
In his 13 years with the Patriots, this was only the 3rdtime that the Patriots and Cardinals have faced each other in the regular season. Belichick and Cardinal’s pride-and-joy Larry Fitzgerald set an amicable tone, oozing respect towards each other in the past week. Patriots tackle Vince Wilfork added to the rapport by paying his respects to Kevin Kolb, “He’s a good quarterback, let’s get that understood right now.” He continued with, “that whole offense, they have weapons, from the backs to the tight ends to the receivers. Up front, they know what they’re doing.” Cardinal defensive coach Ray Horton expressed his admiration of Tom Brady, stating that he is among the best in the game. Brady reciprocated with his compliments of Cardinal talents Adrian Wilson and Patrick Peterson. You get the point. Fans expected to see a mutual respect between teams to be carried onto the field.
Regardless of the outcome – good, clean, old-fashioned competition was in store for Week 2 between the New England Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals. The outcome, of course, was entirely different than the last time the Cardinals faced the Patriots at home. As the Patriots set up for that final moment – a 42 yard field goal attempt – I saw the friends and family around me all hold their breath. It was wide. Screaming, hugging, and cheering ensued as the Cardinals earned an unsuspecting and supposedly unwinnable victory over the Patriots, 20-18. In that moment, it didn’t matter that we are fans from different NFL teams.