Could be in the Cards

TED WYMAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

About eight months ago, I had the opportunity to research the worst North American professional sports franchises in history for the Sun Media weekly top-10 list.

Guess which team that's been in the news a lot lately came in at No. 3 on that list?

Here's a hint: They are playing in the Super Bowl tomorrow and it's a pretty safe bet we're not talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Arizona Cardinals are about as unlikely a Super Bowl participant as you will find.

What's next? The Cubs winning the World Series? The L.A. Clippers in the playoffs? The Phoenix Coyotes winning a playoff series? The Detroit Lions winning a game?

This whole Cinderella story, plus the brilliance of Larry Fitzgerald and the perseverance of Kurt Warner, makes the Cardinals an easy team to cheer for when they take on the heavily favoured Steelers in Tampa.

We are talking here about a franchise that made only one playoff appearance in 25 years prior to this season and had a winning record only twice (including this year when they went a modest 9-7) since 1985.

Their time in Arizona has been marked with futility, a 122-214 record, one division title (this year) and only one playoff win prior to the three stunners they have pulled off this post-season.

These guys are supposed to be the laughingstocks with a stock boy for a quarterback.

Instead, they are putting together the kind of playoff run that dreams are made of, upsetting all who stand in their way and making believers even of those who wouldn't consider 50-1 odds on the Cards at the beginning of the season.

Realistically these birds from the desert shouldn't have a chance to beat a more balanced and defensively superior team from Pittsburgh that has all kinds of Super Bowl history.

But given the kind of odds they've overcome already -- barely scraping in with a 9-7 record that wasn't good enough to get the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or even the New England Patriots (they were 11-5 for Pete's sake) into the playoffs -- you have to think this Arizona juggernaut has a chance of pulling off one more huge upset.

And if it's tough to imagine such a downtrodden franchise hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy, just remember this.

Last May, another team famous for its futility placed fifth on our top-10 list.

That would be the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Another win for the perennial bottom feeders, it says here, is in the Cards.

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