The Superbowl is once again upon us. And while I alwaysrejoice in this weeklong festival of football, this year is especially awesome. My beloved Pittsburgh Steelers - aka Team of Destiny, aaka the only evidence I would accept for the existence of God - are facing off against the upstart Arizona Cardinals. Now normally, I would wish nothing but humiliation and injury upon the Cards. But, despite the undeniable fact that they are going to lose, and lose hard, they deserve some respect. Why? They actually used to be part of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Follow me back to the year 1944. America is at war, and the strapping farmboys normally playing football are otherwise occupied blowing up Nazis in France. This left the NFL short of crucial manpower, and sacrifices had to be made. So, the Pittsburgh Steelers actually merged with the then-Chicago Cardinals (another fun fact: the Cards also played in St. Louis before arriving in Phoenix). The new team was called the Car-Pitts. And they were terrible.
During the 1944 seasons, the Car-Pitts posted an 0-10 record, threw 41 interceptions and set a record for bad punting that stands to this day. Things got so bad that their star player, Johnny Grigas, skipped town before a late-season game.
Of course, if you give your team name rhymes with "Tar Pit" and sounds exactly like "Carpet", you're not exactly giving them a leg-up on success.
Once the war ended, both teams went their separate ways. The Steelers, clearly favoured by the universe, went on to win 19 divisional titles, 7 conference championships, and 5 Superbowls, spawning 22 hall-of-famers in the process. The Cardinals went on to...uh, well...one conference championship (this year) and five divisional titles. They have never won a Superbowl. In fact, this is the first year they've ever even been in the Big Game. Look, they have a small songbird as their logo, so what do you expect?
It's almost as if the Steelers took what little good their was in the Car-Pitts, bundled it up, and made it epic. The Cardinals got to keep all the mediocrity and shame. And when the Steel Curtain comes down on Arizonan this Sunday, the Steelers will underline that fact with a vengeance.