SI.com: Worst loss in Arizona Cardinals history was Super Bowl XLIII

Jul 22, 2015, 2:28 PM | Updated: 2:29 pm
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes (10) catches a fourth quarter touchdown pass in f...
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes (10) catches a fourth quarter touchdown pass in front of Arizona Cardinals safety Aaron Francisco (47) during the NFL Super Bowl XLIII football game, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Arizona Cardinals have lost a lot of games over the course of their history.

A lot.

But as any sports fan can tell you, not all losses are created equal.

SI.com’s Chris Burke sought out to identify the most “gut-punch loss” in every team’s Super Bowl-era history, and his choice for the Arizona Cardinals really comes as no surprise and with no argument.

It came on Feb. 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Cardinals 23. Super Bowl XLIII.

‘Tis better to have played in a Super Bowl and lost than never to have played in a Super Bowl at all. Probably. The Cardinals’ tale of woe is similar to that of Carolina above—underdog gives the favorite all it can handle, only to come up short. Arizona overcame a 100-yard James Harrison interception return and a 13-point deficit to take a 23-20 lead late in the fourth quarter, thanks to Larry Fitzgerald’s 64-yard score.

The NFC champs had no answers for Santonio Holmes down the stretch, though. Holmes caught four passes from Ben Roethlisberger for 73 yards on the Steelers’ decisive drive, including a tip-toeing touchdown grab at the 42-second mark.

Sounds about right.

Thinking back, other options could include the Monday Night Meltdown against the Chicago Bears in 2006 or maybe even last season’s Sunday Night Football defeat to the Seattle Seahawks, a game that had the Cardinals won, would have led to them winning the NFC West.

But really, it’s difficult for any game to top a championship affair that, for at least a little while late, seemed to be going in Arizona’s favor.

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SI.com: Worst loss in Arizona Cardinals history was Super Bowl XLIII