Super Bowl XLIII happened exactly 10 years ago. It’s amazing to think the greatest moment in Arizona Cardinals history occurred at Tampa, Fla., a decade ago as a roller coster of emotions.
The Cardinals rode the resurgence of Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner in 2008. The big contract he signed in 2005 was finally paying off. With the duel talents of wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, the Arizona passing offense alone was enough to take the Cardinals to their first playoffs since 1998.
The Cardinals were fortunate to win the NFC West with a 9-7 record. Because of how bad the division was, the Cardinals went 6-0 against division opponents. That gave them a home game against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, where they won 32-25.
Taking on the stalworths that were the Pittsburgh Steelers, it felt like everything including the kitchen sink would be necessary to win their first championship. The scales tipped in the Steelers favor when linebacker James Harrison returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown to close out the first half with a 17-7 lead. Had that play not happened, the Cardinals could have at least tied the game at 10-10 with a field goal.
Entering the fourth quarter down 20-7, it seemed like hope was lost for the Cardinals. However, they came back and a 23-20 lead off a pair of touchdown passes from Warner to Fitzgerald.
The Steelers had one more trick up their sleeve, which resulted in the immaculate touchdown reception on the side of the end zone by receiver Santonio Holmes.
With that, the Steelers won their record sixth Super Bowl and the Cardinals were left wondering what could have been. After finally having the appetizer of greatness, Arizona spend a decade starving for more. Bruce Arians, who was the offensive coordinator for the Steelers in the Super Bowl, joined the Cardinals as head coach and got as far as the NFC Championship Game in 2015.
With Josh Rosen entering his second season and head coach Kliff Kingsbury in the fold, there is some optimism for the future. For the sake of Arizona fans, this article won’t have to be repurposed in 2029.