Who would have thought that the last team standing in the NFC this year would be the Arizona Cardinals? The Cardinals won a bad NFC West with a mediocre 9-7 record. The division was so bad that second place in the NFC West went to the 7-9 San Francisco 49ers. The Cards also dropped four of their final six games to teams they would likely face in the playoffs, including the Giants, Eagles and Vikings. However, despite all this, the Cardinals have made it to the Promised Land. Now, they are facing a seven-point spread in Vegas and the odds of them winning it all seem slim. Nonetheless, before writing the Cardinals off, I suggest you take a look at how the underdog has fared in past Super Bowls. These five statistics shows why the Cardinals still have a shot of winning Super Bowl XLIII.
1) In the previous 42 Super Bowls, the underdog has won outright a surprising fifteen times.
2) Nine of Arizona’s starters have roots in Pittsburgh and six Arizona coaches were ex-Steelers coaches, two of which were part of the Super Bowl XL team. The Cardinals know their opponent.
3) Last year’s underdogs, the New York Giants, were predicted to lose by twelve points and beat the undefeated New England Patriots, a far better team than the Steelers, by a score of 17-14.
4) Arizona’s high-powered offense scores first frequently. Teams that have scored the first touchdown in the Super Bowl are 30-12.
5) Kurt Warner has thrown for nearly 800 yards in his two Super Bowl appearances and has gone 8-2 in his post-season career.
Then again, here are five statistics that show why the favored Pittsburgh Steelers might be the way to go.
1) The Cardinals are the first nine-win team to reach the Super Bowl since the 1979 Rams, who were winning in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XIV before falling to the dynastic and dynamic Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-19.
2) The AFC team has won four out of the past five Super Bowls.
3) The Cardinals had 40-1 odds to win the Super Bowl AFTER the playoffs had started.
4) Teams with first-time appearances in the Super Bowl have a combined record of 8-18 (Saints, Texans, Browns, Lions and Jaguars are the only other teams to not have made it).
5) Twice before has a Steelers quarterback faced off against a fellow Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Roger Staubach. Both times Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers won.
Enjoy the game!