In the Valley, three of our four professional sports teams — the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes — came very, very close to making the playoffs in their respective leagues in their most recent full seasons.
We also have a team, the Arizona Rattlers, that is the two-time defending champion in its league, and another, the Phoenix Mercury, that made the playoffs last year and now has a chance to set the WNBA record for most wins in a season.
On Saturday, Aug. 9 — a day when the Cardinals, Mercury and Arizona Diamondbacks all notched a win — we asked in our Sanderson Ford Poll Question of the Day which team in the Valley deserves the title of “the best.”
With 46 percent of the vote, the Cardinals were chosen by 189 of the 414 participants, earning them the title of the best in town. It helps that the football club is coming off a 10-6 season and looks like it has improved its depth at many positions going into the 2014 season. It also doesn’t hurt that the team blew out Houston 32-0 in its preseason opener Saturday.
The second-most popular poll answer was the Phoenix Mercury, who earned 25 percent of all votes (102 people total). The Mercury improved to 26-4 on Saturday and has four games left to try to beat or tie the WNBA record of 28 wins in a season.
The Rattlers came in third in the poll with 19 percent (79 voters). The Arena Football club set a league record this season by winning its first 15 games. The Rattlers finished the season 16-3, and they host the San Jose SaberCats on Sunday for a chance to return to the ArenaBowl.
The last option on the poll was the Suns, who earned 11 percent of the vote (44 people total). The team surprised just about everybody by going 48-34 and narrowly missing the NBA Playoffs in 2013-14. Although the Suns were much improved last season and should be in good shape in the year to come, it looks like they still have a ways to go before fans are ready to call them the best in town.