Doug: The 2009 Cardinals were a success
Obviously definitions will vary but I'll give you three words: success, failure, greatness.
Failure is completely falling below expectations.
Success is meeting expectations.
Greatness is exceeding expectations.
Now that we've had a couple of days to get over the loss, let's say it: The 2009 Arizona Cardinals were a successful team. Too many people are attacking the Cards for giving up 90 points in two games. I'm with you that it's deplorable. Yes, some changes need to be made on the defensive side of the football—Bill Davis is not one of those changes—to improve this team.
I think Cardinals fans should be upset at the way the team lost to the Saints. I think it's disrespectful to everything accomplished last year to act like the Cardinals were a failure this year. The loss to the Saints doesn't even fall in the "let down" category.
When you come so close to winning a Super Bowl, I understand why anyone would think the next progression is winning it but that's unfair. Don't take away from the 2008 magic by forcing it on this team.
If the Cardinals would have lost to the Falcons in their first post-season game last year and then beat Green Bay in their first post-season game this year, there would have been tangible progress. Progress says that the season's a success. I said while in Flagstaff that my expectations of this team were to win a home playoff game. They were successful at meeting that expectation. If you thought this was a great football team, you're in disbelief from the Cardinals lost. If you thought the Cards were a successful and good team but not elite, you were disappointed in the loss. I think you should have been in the latter category before and after the Saints game.
The Cardinals are one of only two teams to win more games than they did the previous year two consecutive years. Out of 32 teams only two won more games in '08 than they did in '07 and then raised their win total again this year. The Cards won 8, then 9, and now 10 games. That's the definition of success.
If the Cardinals had a long history of making the playoffs and losing, I can understand fan frustration with this year's outcome. This was the first year since the mid-70's that the Cardinals franchise had back-to-back seasons with a home playoff game. I get the feeling there's too much forgetfulness with people upset with the Cardinals performance instead of disappointment in the outcome of a still uncompleted journey.