Sunday, February 10, 2008

Which bird will rule in '08?

It was December 29, 2002. In San Diego, the Seahawks put on a furious comeback in the fourth quarter. With a second remaining, Matt Hasselbeck plunged over the goaline to force overtime against the Chargers. Ten minutes later, Rian Lindell his a 24 yard field goal to propell Seattle to a 31-28 win.

It was the second overtime win in three weeks. Seattle's 3 game winning streak brought the team to a respecatble 7-9 season, good for 2nd in the NFC West. It may not have seemed like much, but suddenly there was a buzz around the Seahawks. I personally remember this season as being the one my parents did not renew their season tickets more than anything. But still, my frustrations grew bigger after the season ended with a flurry. For once, the Seahawks, MY Seahawks, could make some noise.

The next year, at 9-7, Seattle grabbed finished 2nd again in the NFC West but made the playoffs. The next season, it was a division title. As Paul Harvey says, you know the rest of the story. 4 division titles later, a Super Bowl appearance, and a certain mastery of the NFC East in the playoffs.

Good times.

This past year, down in Arizona, the Cardinals won their last two games to reach a respectable 8-8. There were quality wins over Cleveland and Pittsburgh in the season. Three of Arizona's losses were by three points or less. They lost in overtime once.

This doesn't mean that Arizona is going to wrestle the division title away from Seattle this year. But, for the first time in a long time, the preseason buzz that will undoubtedly accompany the Cardinals will have some merit. Its been 10 years since the Cardinals had a winning record. Now, they're learning how to win, slowly becoming contenders.

Arizona still has flaws, but Seattle is not the team it was two years ago. Both teams head into the offseason with their sights set on eachother for the division title.

Whose going to blink first?