It’s been five years since the Arizona Cardinals played in Super Bowl XLIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Sunday two prominent players from that 2008-09 team moved one step closer to getting back to the big game — albeit with different squads.
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who finally broke through and earned his first Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013, caught a game-high eight receptions for 136 yards, as the San Francisco 49ers dispatched of the Carolina Panthers by a final of 23-10 in Charlotte.
For Boldin, next Sunday’s appearance in the NFC title game against the Seattle Seahawks will mark his third in a conference championship game. In his two prior appearances, Boldin recorded nine catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
Boldin’s former teammate, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, also had a hand in his team’s divisional round victory, as he recorded four solo tackles and a game-high three pass deflections in the Denver Broncos’ 24-17 win over the San Diego Chargers.
The former Cardinals first-round pick, who was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles along with a second-round pick for Kevin Kolb back in July 2011, has three interceptions on the year to go along with 31 tackles.
Rodgers-Cromartie and the Broncos will host the New England Patriots next Sunday for the right to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Former Arizona offensive lineman Adam Snyder (49ers), linebacker O’Brien Schofield (Seahawks) and linebacker Paris Lenon (Broncos) will also be participants in the conference championship games.