Monday, January 19, 2009

Eagles Conference Title Game Recap

"One minute you're on top
The next you're not, watch it drop
Making your heart stop
Just before you hit the floor
One minute you're on top
The next you're not, missed your shot
Making your heart stop
You think you've won
And then it's all gone"

That song by Linkin Park describes exactly what happened to the Eagles last night in the desert. It looked like they may have had it won. And then they hit the floor.

DeSean Jackson had just made the catch of a lifetime to put the Eagles on top, giving them 19 straight unanswered points and a 1-point lead after trailing by 18 in the middle of the 3rd quarter. It looked like the Eagles were gonna make an improbable comeback. Hell, one the ensuing drive the Eagles had forced a 4th and inches situation. But then Hightower made it to the outside, capping a drive that may eventually put Kurt Warner in the Hall of Fame.

It was an incredible game, one for the ages in Glendale. But in the end, the Eagles just did not have enough to respond one more time after Warner's drive. The Eagles had a chance to make it interesting, but the offense just missed some plays on that final drive. However, that was to be expected. The Eagles offense looked like they did the entire post-season. Slow-start, strong finish. The big story was the defense. After beating the physical ground teams such as Minnesota and New York, the Eagles lost to the team that likes to air it out in Warner and the Cardinals. Unbelieveable.

So after all of that, repeat after me: The Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl. No, that's no typo. The Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl. One of the all-time bad franchises is going to the Super Bowl and in a somewhat ironic twist, they're facing one of the all-time great franchises, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Aspeaking of historic, let's take a moment here and reflect on the Cardinals' stadium, University of Phoenix Stadium. First of all, it's one of my favorite NFL stadiums. Unlike some stadiums/domes, it is very pleasing to look at and to watch games from. However, more importantly, it's like the big time site for dramatic post-season finishes, both in the NFL and the college ranks. This is a stadium that opened in 2006 and look at what games have already been played there.

The 2007 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl with the Boise State miracles
Super Bowl XLII and the Giants upset of the then unbeaten Patriots and the Tyree catch.
Texas' dramatic comeback win against Ohio State in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl.
Last night's thrilling NFC Championship game that culminated in what some are already calling a Hall of Fame drive

And that's not even including Arizona's post season upset of Atlanta a few weeks ago, Florida's upset of Ohio State in the 07 BCS Natonal Title game, and West Virginia's upset in the '08 Fiesta Bowl of Oklahoma.

Throughout this whole post-season there has been a certain left for dead theme, especially in the NFC. At 1:00 on Week 17, no one thought the Eagles had a prayer to make the playoffs. They needed Oakland to upset Tampa Bay. There was no way that would happen, right? Then look at the Eagles playoff run. While many had them to beat the Vikings, there was no way they could handle the Giants and beat them twice in the Meadowlands, right? And then the Cardinals. People were talking about revising the playoffs system to keep mediocre teams division winners like the Cardinals out. There was no way they could beat Atlanta. Michael Turner would run all over them, right? Then came Carolina. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were going to dominate them, right? Then came the Eagles. That defense would be too much for them, right? The Cardinals had no chance, right? And now look. The Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl. And while if the Cardinals pull the upset, I don't think it will be considered the biggest upset in Super Bowl upset ever, but definitley the most improbable run ever. The Steelers of a few years ago, while a 6-seed, were considered a team with talent and while unprededented at the time, few were overly shocked that they made it as far as they did. Same story with 5-seeded New York last year. Again, they were a team with talent and they were never really counted out. Folks, this Arizona Cardinal team was flat out left for dead. Folks, this same Arizona Cardinal team is going to Tampa to play in the Super Bowl.

And lastly, a great big thanks to all those who joined me in the live blog of this remarkable title game. Twice you set a record for most comments on a post (The record was shattered in the 1st half thread, and you broke it again in the 2nd half). I hope everyone had as much fun as I did (despite the Eagles losins), your comments were hilarious, and even if I did not put yours in the thread, that does not mean I thought it was not funny. There was only enough time for me to copy and paste the best-of-the-best. Thanks again, and I hope that you come back soon and read more of what I have to say on various Eagles/other sports issues.

Which reminds me, seeing as the Eagles are done, I will be shifting my coverage to the football off-season in general, I'll get to you my what's sure to be God-awful mock draft, and I may even live blog a nationally televised hockey/basketball game involving the Sixers or the Flyers. While I may not post as regularly as some other bloggers, I'll get to you some of the more interesting stuff and maybe even provide you guys some links that you should check out. I also think I'll be live blogging the Phillies opener, assuming it's not being done at AA, and I will be your one-stop shop for all of the Eagles off-season moves (including my in depth coverage of the Eagles' draft). And depending on how things turn out, I may actually live blog the Super Bowl and/or Pro Bowl (Andy Reid coaching a Pro Bowl is worthy of a live blog). So just because Eagles season is over, the fun around here is just beginning. Thanks for joinng me for all of the Eagles live blogs and MNF live blogs throughout the season and I'll see you around.

"Hit the Floor" by Linkin Park lyrics (AZ Lyrics)

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