Updated Dec 30, 2013 - 10:56 am
You won't find any Cardinals outrage here
No matter how hard I tried -- and believe me I tried -- to get upset about it, I just couldn't get angry.
I'm not happy about having to pay for it. I'm not happy about getting a not-so-little bump in my insurance rate in 2014. Yet, the venom in my voice never arrived. The hammer never fell. He's 16. It was an accident. It happens.
Similarly, I'm desperate to avoid any tag of being a Cardinals homer so I'm trying to whip up some legitimate outrage over losing this game to the 49ers and missing the playoffs.
And I just can't do it.
For just the second time in their time here in Arizona, the Cardinals won 10 games. Remember, Vegas said 5.5 wins. They were the first team to win a game in Seattle in two years.
The Cardinals, your Arizona Cardinals, played meaningful football up until about halfway through the third quarter of the final game of the year, though their Christmas miracle of making the playoffs was dashed once it became clear the Saints were not losing. And even when things were rendered meaningless, the Cardinals still played every snap as if their very future depended on it.
That effort was not lost on Darnell Dockett.
"I have been in this organization for 10 years and I've been on some teams that, in a game like that, they would have clocked out," Dockett said. "At the end of the season, probably knowing that the Saints were winning, probably not going to the playoffs, like what are we playing for? But this team is different."
It was a season stuffed with great drama, debate, signature moments and redemption. It leaves you wondering what Steve Keim and Bruce Arians will be able to do for an encore.
Not that it will be easy. There will be roster changes, maybe coaching changes. Carrying momentum over from one season to the next sounds great in theory. In application it's hard. Ask the 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks about that.
If you're not in the "good try" camp, you could harp on Jay Feely for the missed field goals, Carson Palmer for yet another horrible interception -- one that led directly to a touchdown -- or the inability to cover Anquan Boldin. Or you could go big picture and complain about the blown 11-point fourth-quarter lead in St. Louis or the refs in Philly. But that's complaining for the sake of complaining.
Maybe that's you. Maybe you're one of those black-or-whiters who believe that a season that ends in anything less than a championship is a failure. If so, this column is probably not for you.
For those who color in shades of grey, it was one of the most vividly entertaining seasons of Cardinals football ever even though the end result left you wanting -- or deserving -- more.
Dave Burns, Co-host of Burns & Gambo