There's a definite sadness among the staff at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and ArizonaSports.com.
That's because the NFL season has come to an end. Seattle's 43-8 trouncing of Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII marked the close of a remarkable campaign, both league-wide and right here in Arizona.
Back in September, the members of the staff stuck their necks out by making predictions on what would happen around the NFL and right here in our backyard with the Arizona Cardinals.
So how did we do? Let's review.
Arizona Cardinals Predictions
What will the Cardinals' record be in 2013?
None of our 19 voters saw the Cardinals having a winning record in 2013. But new head coach Bruce Arians led the team to 10 wins, nearly guiding them to the playoffs.
Six of our voters -- Ron Wolfley, Vince Marotta, Craig Grialou, Ryan Lindsay, Jordan Byrd and Jules Tompkins -- had the Cardinals breaking even at 8-8 and were closest to getting their record right.
Who will be the Cardinals' leading rusher in 2013?
Veteran Rashard Mendenhall ended the season with a modest total of 687 yards -- 25th among team leaders in the NFL. While 15 of our voters picked the former Steeler to lead the squad in rushing, nobody got the correct number of yards.
John Gambadoro was closest -- his prediction was 750 yards. Carter Nacke was the closest without going over (Price Is Right rule) with his prediction of 550 yards.
How many TD passes will Carson Palmer throw in 2013?
Four of our voters -- Marotta, Dan Bickley, Dave Burns and Adam Green -- nailed it, predicting Palmer would throw 24 touchdown passes on the season.
How many sacks will the Cardinals allow in 2013?
After a disastrous 2012 season when Arizona allowed QBs to be sacked a league-high 58 times, there was improvement in this category. The Cards allowed Palmer to get sacked 41 times, which was tied for 14th-best in the league.
Four of our voters -- Bickley, Chuck Powell, Grialou and Tyler Bassett -- correctly predicted the number.
How many receiving yards will Larry Fitzgerald have in 2013?
All but one of our voters thought Fitz would bounce back from a down 2012 and eclipse the 1,000-yard mark again. All but one of our voters was wrong.
Although the Pro Bowl receiver got close, he finished with 954 yards. Arizona Sports executive producer Ryan Lindsay prognosticated that Fitzgerald would finish with 900.
Who will lead the Cardinals in sacks in 2013, and how many will he have?
Calais Campbell got the most votes in our preseason poll, but it was John Abraham who got the most sacks, with 11.5 on the year.
Eight of our voters predicted #55 would lead the team in that category, with Bickley and Tompkins being the closest with their pick of 11 sacks.
Make one bold prediction for the Cardinals' 2013 season...
Six of our panelists got their predictions right -- of course the degrees of boldness varied.
Bickley and Byrd both said the Cardinals wouldn't be eliminated from playoff contention until Week 17. Check.
Burns said the Cardinals wouldn't get swept by both San Francisco and Seattle. Check.
Jon Bloom predicted a 4-4 mark at the midway point of the season. Check.
And then, trending toward the abstract -- Nacke said that Palmer would make fans start believing in the QB position again. You can make an argument that happened.
And Bryan Gibberman said that Andre Ellington would emerge as the team's best running back.
NFC West - Nine voters picked the Seahawks to reign supreme in the division. Seven of them -- Paul Calvisi, Bickley, Marotta, Burns, Byrd, Tompkins and Jarrett Carlen -- predicted the correct standings order in the NFC West.
NFC South - The vast majority of our panel (12 of 19) picked the Atlanta Falcons to win the South. Oops. The Falcons stumbled all season long, posting a 4-12 mark.
Only Gibberman had correctly predicted the Carolina Panthers to finish first.
NFC North - Every one of our panelists, except for digital boss man Bassett, correctly predicted the Green Bay Packers to win it.
Bassett picked Detroit, which looked like a great pick until the Lions forgot how to play football down the stretch, losing their last four games and costing Jim Schwartz his head coaching job.
NFC East - Every team in the division got at least three votes in the preseason, but only six saw the Philadelphia Eagles breaking through: Powell, Bloom, Green, Bassett, Nacke and Gibberman.
AFC West - Yawn. Everyone picked Denver. Everyone was right.
AFC South - Sixteen of 19 voters picked the Houston Texans to own this division. Instead, the guys with the bull's head on their helmets lost 14 straight games to end the season.
Burns, Dave Dulberg and Tompkins all correctly picked Indianapolis.
AFC North - Fourteen of our voters nailed it with the pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Those who were right: Wolfley, Franz, Calvisi, Marotta, Gambo, Burns, Powell, Bloom, Grialou, Dulberg, Nacke, Lindsay and Byrd.
AFC East - The Patriots got 16 votes. The three who didn't pick them were Marotta and Bassett (Miami) and Powell (Buffalo).
NFC Champions - Calvisi, Marotta, Bickley, Burns, Dulberg, Nacke, Lindsay and Tompkins all saw the Seattle Seahawks winning the NFC and heading to their second Super Bowl in team history.
AFC Champions - Wolf, Franz, Calvisi, Marotta, Burns, Bloom, Green, Dulberg, Bassett, Lindsay, Tompkins and Carlen correctly picked the Denver Broncos to represent the AFC.
Super Bowl Champions - The Seahawks left no doubt in this category in Super Bowl XLVIII, and Calvisi, Bickley, Marotta, Lindsay and Nacke all saw it happening.
In fact, Calvisi, Marotta and Lindsay had the exact pairing -- Seattle over Denver in the big game.
Honorable mention to Burns, Dulberg and Tompkins, who had the right teams, but the wrong outcome.
MVP - Nine of our voters -- Wolfley, Calvisi, Bickley, Burns, Powell, Green, Lindsay, Tompkins and Carlen -- had Denver's Peyton Manning winning his fifth MVP award.
Offensive Player of the Year - Five of the nine who picked Manning to garner MVP honors also had him winning this award. Nice work Wolf, Burns, Lindsay, Tompkins and Carlen. Byrd also had Manning winning OPOY although he picked Drew Brees as MVP.
Defensive Player of the Year - J.J. Watt got the most preseason votes with six, but it was Carolina's Luke Kuechly (who had five votes) taking home the hardware. Who got it right? Calvisi, Marotta, Green, Nacke and Gibberman.
Offensive Rookie of the Year - Buffalo's EJ Manuel was the popular pick in September, but his season was derailed by a knee injury. Only one voter (Byrd) had Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy winning this award.
Defensive Rookie of the Year - The award went to Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, and only self-professed Jets superfan Gibberman got it right.
Coach of the Year - "Riverboat Ron" Rivera of Carolina won it, but nobody picked him in the preseason despite the fact that eight different coaches got votes.
Bold Predictions - Only three panelists got theirs right.
Doug Franz predicted Miami would not be eliminated from playoff contention until Week 17, which was the case when they lost 20-7 to the Jets in the final week of the season.
Bickley and Bloom both had Chip Kelly leading the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs after a last-place finish in 2012. That happened, making it 11 straight seasons at least one last place team has ascended to the postseason the very next year.