For the second consecutive year, I'm heading to the Pink Taco in Glendale for playoff game hosted by The Buzzsaw That Is The Arizona Cardinals. I'm not sure enough people appreciate how strange that is.
Two-and-a-half years ago, I previewed the Buzzsaw's 2007 season with an interview with The Anonymous Lifelong Buzzsaw Season Ticket Holder Friend. I wanted to better understand the franchise I'd spent my entire life cheering for, from the inside, from a guy who had sat out in the 120-degree Sun Devil Stadium heat, dealing with a fanbase that was 65 percent actually rooting for the Cowboys. I'd never even been to Arizona, and after the interview, The Anonymous Lifelong Buzzsaw Season Ticket Holder Friend (heretofore TALBSTHF) invited me to come out if the Buzzsaw ever actually hosted a playoff game. He said this jokingly. We knew that would never happen.
Now, for the second straight year, I'm taking him up on it. Heading into the first Falcons game last year, all I hoped was that the Buzzsaw didn't embarrass themselves, that the first time the football nation ever noticed they existed didn't end with Kurt Warner's spleen smeared across the Pink Taco turf. Then they won ... and they won again ... and they won again. My brain is still trying to compute last January, yet here we are, again.
Football moves so quickly. Already, the Cardinals are the dull NFC entrant, oh yeah they're back again. For crying out loud, the Arizona Cardinals are in the playoffs. That will never stop looking strange to me. And now it has happened twice.
I do not know if the Cardinals are going to win Sunday, and a part of me, like last year, does not care. Before I headed to Arizona last year, I'd never even met another Cardinals fan. Now I have a group of friends waiting to tailgate with me, to drink and eat and consider selling the extra tickets to the guys in the cheese hats.
All I ever wanted was for the Buzzsaw to be thought of as an actual NFL team. They are now. They provide hope for fans of the Browns, the Pirates, the Grizzlies, the sad-sack franchises who think their day will never come but stick it out anyway. It can come. You can be normal. You can be just another team. You can find fellow fans who aren't ashamed. I have been a Buzzsaw fan my entire life. The Arizona Cardinals are in the playoffs, and no one thinks it's all that big of a deal. That's bliss. That can be you. It can happen.
And if they lose: Look, Matt Holliday!