That was all JJ Watt tweeted after the Cardinals victory in Seattle.
To the uninitiated, the outsiders, the tweet may have seemed cryptic, obtuse, confusing. But to the faithful, nothing more needed to be said.If you know, you know.
In the aftermath of the Arizona Cardinals victory at Lumen Field, all the focus in the media, once again, was on the Seattle Seahawks. My Monday morning Google News alert for "Arizona Cardinals" showed me stories about "Why Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will have a second half hot streak", speculation about why Pete Carroll is managing this Seahawks slide so badly, his viral meltdown during the post game press conference, and what the team will do when they inevitably move on from their long time coach.
There was discussion of why Russell Wilson continues to underperform, with some even openly mocking the 8 time Pro Bowl selection for being outplayed by the lowly Colt McCoy. But one thing was near unanimous among the media, as Frank Schwab summarized "The Seattle Seahawks let Colt McCoy be a bigger factor than Russell Wilson in Sunday's game."
Yeah, that's right. The Cardinals only played as well as they did, because the Seahawks let them. And all of this is on a search for "Arizona Cardinals" news.
After the NFL Network analysts unanimously picked the Seahawks to win during the pre-game show -- et tu, Kurt? -- perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that all the talk was about how the Seahawks blew a golden opportunity, rather than how, maybe, just maybe, this Cardinals team is the real deal, and should be taken seriously.
By this point, I'm used to it. We're all used to it. Maybe we even like it this way. Sometimes it's easier to be an underdog.
But even at 9-2 -- the best record in the NFL -- there's still always some other reason why the Cardinals won.
They are not as good as their record suggests. They've got lucky. Other teams have been beat up and injured. You name it, the excuses get trotted out.
They will make excuses all day as to why the Chiefs are better than their record shows, or the Packers or Buccaneers losses -- each of whom have one more than the Cardinals have, it should be noted -- can be chalked up to injuries, or bad calls by the officials, or tough scheduling, or whatever other excuse they want to make, but the Cardinals being without their starting QB and number one receiver for the last 3 Weeks -- and going 2-1 over that stretch -- no, the only time we'll spend any time or energy discussing the Cardinals is after that 1 loss.
There always has to be someone to blame when the Cardinals win. Always some reason to put an asterisk next to it in the minds of the commentators. If you ask Keyshawn Johnson, the Cardinals are not only not the best team in football, in spite of what the record says, "I cannot envision them, in todays market, being a top 7 team". Good job I didn't ask Key what he thinks then.
Because here's the thing.
Bad teams rely on excuses to cover up their mistakes.
Good teams own them.
But great teams, well, they don't need to do either... They just show up and win games, week in, week out.
And right now, the Cardinals, are winning more games than anyone else in the league.
They are the first team to guarantee themselves a winning record this season -- they won't be the last, I am sure, but they are still the first to reach that magical 9 win mark. They are the only team in the league whose record has improved year on year, each year, for the last 3 years. And they've done it all without several key players, on both sides of the ball, for extended stretches throughout the season. And instead of making excuses, they just show up, and they win.
Number 1 QB is out? No worries, Colt McCoy will show up in one of the most hostile stadiums in the NFL and complete 80% of his passes, for over 300 yards, with 2 TDs, and will do so while looking like, well, Kyler Murray escaping the pass rush and scrambling around in the back field on some of those plays. Oh, yeah, and he'll do it while DeAndre Hopkins is sitting on the sideline.
Kicker having an off day missing some easy kicks and leaving points on the field? No problems, our D will take the team on their back, and bail us out.
See that's the thing making excuses, that's easy. Had the Cardinals lost, there would have been no shortage of things to blame -- not that anyone in the media would have made any excuses for this team -- but when your team is the real deal... no excuses are necessary.
Showing up and just doing your job, whoever you are, and wherever you are in the depth chart, that's Cardinals football in 2021.
The depth chart is solid, top to bottom, with the front office having built a formidable -- if often underestimated -- 53 man roster, while the coaching, has turned them into a team. Heck, it may be the best we've ever seen this team look since the Cardinals came to Arizona -- and yes, I'm including the BA era, or Ken Whisenhunt leading us to a Super Bowl. GM Steve Keim looks like a genius right now, bringing in players who have transformed the face of the franchise, through shrewd free agent signings, some killer trades, and, of course, drafting some players that are really looking like the real deal.
Coach of the year? Close the books, it's already over. People will make an argument for Mike Vrabel, or Brandon Staley, and Bill Belichick's name will be tossed out, because, well, Belichick's name is always tossed out. But those people would be wrong, and if the AP voters have been paying even a little bit of attention to this point, the race is already over. Kingsbury is the only option, and, at least if people have been watching, it should not even be close right now.
Coming into the season, many fans considered Kingsbury and Keim to both be in the hot seat. Right now, they are the GM/Head Coach power couple everyone is struggling to catch up with.
Just maybe... The Cardinals are just better.
And if they are... which I think they are...
Maybe the rest of the league better finally sit up and take notice.