The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Curse of the Cardinals

Talk of curses is fairly commonplace in sports. One curser, however, doesn't get much publicity and that's because it is rarely invoked. But as an Arizona Cardinals fan, I feel obliged to discuss The Curse of the Cardinals and to apologize to fans of the Carolina Panthers fans.

First of all, what exactly is this curse?

Well, history has proven to us that any team that loses to the Chicago / St. Louis / Phoenix / Arizona Cardinals on its home turf is set to suffer a trying future.

Do you doubt it? You shouldn't. The facts are inarguable.

In 1998 the "wild card" (how appropriate!) Arizona Cardinals travelled to Irving, Texas and defeated the Dallas Cowboys at (old) Texas Stadium. What have the Cowboys accomplished since then? In a word, nothing. The Cowboys haven't won a single playoff game. Immediately prior to that, the Cowboys had been dominant. Arguably, they were the team of the 90s - winning three Super Bowls under two different coaches. While the Cowboys did manage to reach the playoffs in 1999, they were eliminated in the first round and did not return to the playoffs until 2003. To date, the Cowboys have still not won a playoff game since their loss to the Cardinals in the 1998 playoffs. The Cowboys current playoff drought is longer than any other in the team's history. Who's to blame? The Cardinals.

Now it seems that the Carolina Panthers may be suffering a worse fate. Last season the Panthers were dominant. At least in the regular season. When the playoffs came around, they were nearly the opposite. The Panthers were soundly beaten by the Cardinals, and it all happened on the Panthers home turf. Since then the Panthers have imploded (to some degree). They are winless on the current campaign, despite returning nearly all of last year's team. It's worth noting that one significant change for the Panthers this season was the addition of Chuck Cecil as defensive coordinator; Cecil, of course, spent part of his career with the Cardinals.

Will the Panthers suffer the same maladies as the Cowboys? How strong is The Curse of the Cardinals?

Only time will tell.

N.B. There are only two known examples of the curse of the Cardinals. Despite the teams long history, it is decidely not storied. The Cardinals have only two road playoff victories in their near century of existence.


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