If anyone had any doubts that the Arizona Cardinals were part of the toughest division in the NFL in 2013, perhaps the fact that two teams from the NFC West will be battling for the right to play in the Super Bowl this Sunday will be enough to convince them otherwise.
And as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks duke it out in the NFC Championship Game, all the Cardinals can do is watch and wonder what could have been.
"Woulda, shoulda, coulda," Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein told Doug and Wolf Wednesday morning. "I feel like we can compete with both those teams that are in the championship game. Just goes to show where our division's headed, having two teams in the conference championship."
The Cards won 10 games this season -- usually enough to reach the playoffs -- and were arguably the hottest team in the NFC when the season concluded. One of those 10 wins came in Seattle against the Seahawks, who are favored to reach the Super Bowl in large part due to their incredible home field advantage.
But alas, none of that matters now.
"Frustrating, for sure, especially when we feel like we could have done some damage if we just got in," Sendlein said. "It's been more frustrating this year than years of the past."
That mentality was a common theme when the season concluded, as it seemed like every member of the Cardinals would have much preferred to still be playing. It's a stark contrast from just one year ago when, after losing 11 of their last 12 games, everyone was ready to move on.
This year, everyone wanted to continue moving forward.
"You work all year to be playing in January and February and it's a little bitter when you don't get there, especially when you had a little taste of success like we did."