The Arizona Cardinals are about to go into a Saturday postseason game at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina as underdogs, not expected by most to advance to the next round of the playoffs.
It should if you remember the 2008 playoffs when the Cardinals went on the road to take on the 12-4 Carolina Panthers (undefeated at home) as 10 point underdogs.
After all, the Cardinals were only 9-7 that regular season and had dropped all five east-coast games during the year (including the 47-7 thumping in New England three weeks earlier).
And sure enough, the Panthers took the opening kickoff then proceeded to march down the field with little resistance and the rout was on after only three minutes of play. Or was it?
Not by a long shot because that's when something magical began to happen -- and it lasted until 00:42 remaining in Superbowl XLIII.
How 'bout them Cardinals?
The Big Red completely and totally dominated from that point forward and shocked the national prime-time audience (and the world) by scoring 33 unanswered points. But that's what happens when you have five different players with interceptions and you chew up nearly 40 minutes of clock time. Final score: Cardinals 33 - Panthers 13
Antonio Smith got things rolling for the defense with a forced fumble and recovery, then joining in on the fun was Kurt Warner (21/32, 220 yards, 2 TD's), Tim Hightower (17 carries, 76 yards, TD), Edgerrin James (20 carries, 57 yards, TD), Larry Fitzgerald (8 receptions, 166 yards, TD) and Neil Rackers with four field goals.
Larry Fitzgerald isn't the only current player that will take the field again Saturday for the Cardinals in the playoff rematch: Lyle Sendlein (second-year) and Calais Campbell (rookie) were also there.
Former Cardinal Derek Anderson (2010) will be on the sideline for the Panthers and Ted Ginn Jr. played last season in Carolina. Former players that have worn the jerseys of both teams include Josh McCown, Ricky Proehl, Joe Nedney, Eric Swann and Eric Metcalf (son of former Cardinals great Terry Metcalf).
Regular Season History
Despite the Cardinals playoff win in 2008, the Panthers lead the brief all-time series 8-5 that dates back to 1995 -- the inaugural season of the Carolina Panthers who finished at 7-9 that first year in the NFL (not bad). Arizona has won the last two regular season meetings between the teams (2011, 2013) and they're included in these highlights:
* Jake Plummer connects on two touchdown strikes to David Boston (7 catches, 127 yards). Leading the way on the ground was Michael Pittman (89 yards) followed by Thomas Jones (69 yards). Ronald McKinnon started things off with a 25-yard fumble return touchdown and Cedric Oglesby chipped in with three field goals as the Cards win 30-7 at Ericcson Stadium in 2001.
* Same time, same place the following year as the Big Red takes the lead 16-13 on Bill Gramatica's 50 yard field goal with 29 seconds remaining. The third of three field goals that day with Freddie Jones grabbing the game-tying touchdown toss from Jake 'The Snake' only two minutes before. Kyle Vanden Bosch, Kwamie Lassiter and Wendell Bryant shine on defense for the Big Red.
* Touchdown strikes by Kevin Kolb (18/27, 309 yards, 2 TD's) to Early Doucet (70 yards) and Jeff King (48 yards) tie the game and set up Patrick Peterson's 89-yard punt return TD mid-way through the 4th quarter. The Cardinals go on to win 28-21 at UofP Stadium that day in 2011 that saw Beanie Wells (90 yards rushing) get things started with a touchdown in a game without field goals and seven Panther punts.
* Back in Glendale in 2013 and the Cardinals prevail 22-6, scoring points four different ways: Rashard Mendenhall (rushing TD); Jim Dray (TD reception); two Jay Feely field goals; and Calais Campbell scores a safety just for fun. The defense shines with a whopping 7 sacks, three picks and a pair of 43-yard non-scoring fumble and interception returns (Antoine Cason, Patrick Peterson).
Back to the future
Same place, same stakes as the Arizona Cardinals get set to fly to Carolina once again and looking for history to repeat itself with a little playoff Déjà Vu.
Hope the inspirational video helps and feel free to watch it over and over if need be.
For those interested in a listing of how (and when) the 32 current NFL teams came to be, visit NFL Team History