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Updated Feb 4, 2013 - 12:30 pm

Anquan Boldin's success both nice and painful to watch

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin (81) makes a 13-yard touchdown reception against San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner (31) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Every time Anquan Boldin scores a touchdown in the Super Bowl his team goes on to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

And every time he doesn't, his team doesn't.

If only Kurt Warner's pass to Boldin at the end of the first half of Super Bowl XLIII had been caught by No. 81 in red and not No. 92 in white.

At any rate, seeing Boldin, who posted a line of six receptions for 104 yards and one touchdown in Super Bowl XLVII as the Ravens knocked off the 49ers was nice for any longtime Cardinals fan, because if anyone deserved to reach the sport's pinnacle, it was the Quan.

Taken in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft, Boldin developed a bit of a cult following while amassing 586 receptions for 7,530 yards and 44 TDs over seven years in a Cardinals uniform.

I mean really, who else would have gotten this kind of photoshop treatment back in 2003?

He was as much of a warrior as any NFL player could be on the field, and personified everything you want in a player. Boldin was something to be proud of for teams that had little else, and there were few things as gratifying as seeing him experience success with the same Cardinals organization that he had toiled with for so many years prior.

Yet it took him joining a different flock to reach the sport's pinnacle.

Boldin is not the first former Cardinal to win somewhere else, and he certainly won't be the last. The Cardinals are not the only team that sees players experience success with a different team, so the idea that "they always let their best players go" is baseless and untrue.

Look no further than Larry Fitzgerald for evidence.

Fitzgerald has professed nothing but excitement over seeing his good friend and former teammate win a championship. Whether it was tweeting about how well Boldin was playing or simply just congratulating the guy for being on the winning side, Arizona's franchise player was his usual classy self.

But I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that part of Fitzgerald is a little jealous of his friend, and perhaps even a little miffed that while Boldin is at the top, he is closer to the bottom.

And having just signed a contract extension, odds are good the only uniform he'll be wearing in the near future is the one he's worn the last nine years. The future Hall of Famer may very well don another uniform at some point in his career, but the rest of his prime will be spent right here in the Valley.

So odds are if Fitz is to become a Super Bowl champion he will do so with the the team that drafted him.

To the team's credit, the defense is already there. In fact, Arizona's ranked ahead of Baltimore's in the regular season and tallied far more sacks (58 to 38) and turnovers (34 to 14) than the defense that just won the Super Bowl.

But as we all know, even the best defense can be rendered moot if its offense is historically bad. And even with a player of Fitzgerald's caliber, Arizona's offense has been bad over the last three seasons.

That has to change, and the Cardinals know it.

It's a responsibility the franchise seems to take seriously, signified by the bold (if failed) move to land Kevin Kolb two years ago, draft Michael Floyd last year and continually address the offensive line in free agency. The hiring of Bruce Arians only furthers the idea that the organization is not only aware of what needs to be fixed, but is very much focused on rectifying the problem. Will it happen? Only time will tell, but hopefully the next Arizona Cardinals great to hoist the Lombardi Trophy will do so as an Arizona Cardinal.

About the Author


School: University of Arizona

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: Fall 2008, right before Cardinals Super Bowl run

Favorite sports memory: Being at Game 7 of the 2001 World Series with my dad

Favorite all-time athlete: Larry Centers

Favorite sports movies: The Sandlot, Rookie of the Year, Jerry Maguire

Most crushing sports moment: Grew up in Arizona and went to UA from 2002-06. In short, there are too many to name just one.

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