"Yay Cardinals! Cardinals Football!"
That's what 1-year-old Luke said to celebrate Arizona's epic 30-24 overtime dispatching of the Cowboys today. He watched the game with me for three hours and didn't understand a thing he saw. Neither did his dad. What happened at University of Phoenix Stadium was a rip in the space-time continuum, a tilt in the axis and sweeping maelstrom of liquid bliss that quenched the parched Sonoran desert's two-decadelong spell of NFL futility.
It was almost worth Arizona's sickening squandering of a 10 point lead in the final 130 seconds of regulation, including Dallas' miracle long bomb and 52-yard-field-goal as time expired, for the bum-rush blocked punt that sent the bad ship Cowboy to the bottom of a hellfire ocean.
I glanced at the score strip atp[ the TV screen, rubbed my eyes and confirmed that it was indeed true. This was no fever dream, acid trip or head injury. This had truly happened. Arizona is atop the NFC West, two games ahead of its closest competition and a million miles better than dreaded 1-4 Seattle. No matter what happens from this point out, it has been signed, sealed and delivered that 2008 is the Cardinals' year. Playoffs are in store. Maybe even a visit to the Super Bowl. All dreams are possible after you've slain the most savage of NFC beasts, depantsing the school bully than making out with his girlfriend while the rest of the school watches.
I looked over at Luke, clapping for no reason at all. "Yay Cardinals! Cardinals football!" To him these are not scalawags clinging to their one barnacle of sustenance. This is no surprise, no breaking of tradition, no cause for Atlas to ease his strained shoulders to whoop it up in stunned celebration. The Cardinals win, and they always have, ever since he can remember.