The Arizona Cardinals have reason for optimism.
They won seven of their last nine games in 2011. They have Larry Fitzgerald. They have an emerging defense. They play in a weak division.
Did we mention they have Larry Fitzgerald?
Anyway, even with all the positives, there are still reasons to be skeptical, which must be why NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal, in an article titled Who's next in line to win first Super Bowl title?, has the Cardinals in a group with the Vikings, Titans, Browns and Jaguars under the header "Nothing on the Horizon."
I've never been more sad in a Super Bowl locker room than when I talked to the Cardinals. They were all so hopeful, but I couldn't help but think that they would never get back to that point. Without a quality quarterback, they are as far away as ever. Things change fast in the NFL, but its hard to imagine these teams as serious Super Bowl contenders in the next two years.
Well Gregg, we were all pretty sad after the Super Bowl, and we understand that without good QB play the Cards will have a hard time making it back.
Still, putting them on the same level as the Jaguars and Browns? Really? The Jaguars and Browns?!
But that's neither here nor there. The point is the Cardinals, for all that there is to be excited about, are still an underdog in many peoples' eyes.
Just as they were in 2008 before, you know, that whole Super Bowl thing happened.