Super nostalgia for the one that got away: Interest in home state team peaked during 2009 playoff run

USAF/Courtesy<BR>
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over Super Bowl XLIII prior to kickoff in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 1, 2009.

USAF/Courtesy<BR> The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over Super Bowl XLIII prior to kickoff in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 1, 2009.

The Arizona Cardinals' strong season came to a disappointing end this year when the Carolina Panthers crushed them, ending the Cards' quest for another trip to the Super Bowl.

They reached the final game in 2009, though, and one of the Kingman Daily Miner's reporters at the time - Aaron Royster - had tickets.

Jan. 30, 2009

Oh yeah! I'm going to the Super Bowl

For the second straight year, I'll be heading to the Super Bowl.

Of course, this will be the first time I'll actually get inside the stadium. I'll be cheering with my father, John Royster, for the Arizona Cardinals to cruise to victory against the favored Pittsburgh Steelers.

Fortunately for me, my father was drawn to purchase tickets for Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla. But, Dad is the lucky one this year.

What started out as an opportunity to watch professional football with a buddy in 1990 for my dad has transformed into a devotion to a team that has been the butt of NFL jokes for years.

Since 1990, my father has been a season ticket holder. He has suffered through the bad seasons ... and well, even more bad seasons.

Then, as now, going to the Big Game was an expensive proposition. News reports priced tickets for today's Super Bowl from $8,000 to more than $24,000.

Royster didn't say how much his dad spent, but apparently it was a pretty penny.

The amount being spent so far on our trip to the game could've bought one ridiculously large high-definition TV and accompanying Super Bowl party, but for Dad, there's no way he was going to miss watching this game in person.

•••

Speaking of money, Miner sports guru Shawn Byrne thought the Cardinals were a sure bet to win Super Bowl XLIII.

Jan. 30, 2009

I can't wait until approximately 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. That's when I'll be doing what my family lovingly calls the "Cardinal Dance" as they wonder when I'll grow up and stop acting like a teenager when it comes to my favorite teams.

There has only been a few times when I believed in a team, and it actually took me to the Promised Land. There have been plenty more, perhaps hundreds, when I believed in a team and it didn't take me there. I believe this year's Cardinals will make us Arizonans proud. So proud, I plan on lobbying Mayor Salem for an official "Cardinals Day" here in Kingman to honor the Super Bowl champions.

The Pittsburgh Steelers won't be winning the game on Sunday because the hype of that storied franchise just doesn't measure up this season. It's fine to have history on your side, but it's no match for destiny. Just ask the Brits about America's fight for independence.

... The pressure is all on the Steelers to win, but for the Cardinals, expectations have been surpassed. I see the Cardinals going out on the field in Tampa, Fla., to have fun doing what they do best - playing football.

... We, the Cardinals' fans, will be celebrating a championship on Sunday because we have destiny on our side. These are not your average Cardinals. Cardinals fans have to be honest - we don't recognize them for what they are. We just have to believe in who they are.

I need to go do some jumping jacks now. I have to warm up for my "Cardinal Dance."

I've never seen that dance, and on that fateful Sunday, Shawn's family didn't either. The Associated Press wrote the game story, which was published the day after the game.

Feb. 2, 2009

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Their Steel Curtain shredded, Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense ended a Super Bowl of incredible swings with a final-minute touchdown for a historic victory.

Santonio Holmes made a brilliant 6-yard catch deep in the right corner of the end zone with 35 seconds remaining Sunday night, lifting the Steelers to a record-setting sixth Super Bowl win, 27-23 over the Arizona Cardinals.

"Scramble right, scramble left, find someone open," Roethlisberger said.

It was one of the most thrilling finishes to the NFL title game, certainly equaling last year's upset by the New York Giants that ended with Plaxico Burress' TD catch - with 35 seconds left, too.

But this one was even wilder.

Unfortunately, destiny didn't read Shawn's column back then. Oh, well - there's always 2017!