In defeat, the Cardinals didn't play like imposters (40293)
In defeat, the Cardinals didn't play like imposters (40292)

Over the course of this NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers proved to be the best team in football, confirmed by their exhilarating 27-23 triumph over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

When the season began, the Steelers were expected to be contenders. The Cardinals were not. The Steelers’ long history has been marked by success. The Cardinals’ lengthy existence has been marred by ineptness. But over a four-week period, including three playoff wins, the Cardinals altered decades-old perceptions and shed their well-earned label as eternal losers. Even those who

viewed them as imposters right up until their dramatic fourth quarter surge against the Steelers in one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever conceded the Cardinals were authentic.

“Guys kept fighting and guys kept battling. I never lost faith. Sometimes things just don’t go your way,” said the Cardinals’ uncontainable wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who put on one of the most spectacular clutch performances by a wide receiver in a big game in recent memory.

Yet Fitzgerald’s seven-catch, 127-yard, two TD masterpiece wasn’t enough to prevent what from the coin toss seemed like

an inevitable Steelers’ win. “You can always look at could’ve, would’ve, should’ve,” a disappointed Fitzgerald commented. “It’s kind of like it’s all for nothing.”

Such sentiments, coming right after a crushing loss, are expected. However, when the hurt has dissipated, Fitzgerald and his teammates will realize that they had accomplished an enormous feat: elevating the Cardinals to relevancy.