It’s a question Cardinals fans have been hearing since their team had been crushed, left for dead and forgotten on the cold grass at Century Link Field during a 2012 week 14 divisional matchup. If ever the Arizona faithful showed the slightest spark of hope they’d be faced with it. “What does 58-0 mean to you?” It was a soul shattering question. One no one wanted to answer. As a fan it’s best to leave the talking to your team. And on December 22nd 2013, the new Arizona Cardinals under head coach Bruce Arians answered it handedly.
But before we get to the answer let’s pose the question again. “What does 58-0 mean to you?” After all, the loss wasn’t particularly that embarrassing. The Cardinals weren’t the real story that day. No, the win will be more remembered as a key moment for a team on the rise. A loss that transformed the Cardinals into a mere speed bump for Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll, his prodigy 3rd round pick and diminutively proportioned Russell Wilson and Skittles Poster Boy Marshawn Lynch.
It was as much a win as it was a calling card for the Seattle defense. A way to signify future divisional, conference and league wide dominance. Bobby Wagner and Richard Sherman each recorded 2 INT’s a piece, Chris Clemons, Byron Maxwell, Richard Sherman and Malcolm Smith all got their hands on fumbles. The defensive front of the Seattle Seahawks masterfully held the Arizona Cardinals to 43 rush yards and 3 sacks.
And yet it can not be denied that “58-0″ mattered. Certainly so in Arizona. It was a beat down, both brutal and definitive, leaving a lasting pock mark on the Coach Ken Whisenhunt era of Cardinals football. Then the post season came. Changes were made. Veterans signed deals. Rookies were drafted. Training camp started. Things started to feel… different. Hopes started percolating. There was a swagger, both in the front office and on the field. The new faces in the organization carried with them over 100 years of pro football experience and you could begin to see glimmers of knowledge trickling down into the players. And yet the question still hung in the air. “What does 58-0 mean to you?”
Once the season started things were shaky. The team which had looked so good on paper, began looking all too familiar. They were still making the kind of mistakes that Cardinals fans have come to expect from their team. In short, they were still the Cardinals, the redheaded step child of the NFL. And the question got louder and louder as our first match up with the Seahawks loomed. And how dare the sadists in the NFL front office make it a prime time Thursday night game? Don’t they know what we’ve been hearing for almost a year now? “What does 58-0 mean to you?”
Well, that game came and went. And while it wasn’t near a drubbing of the likes of 58-0 it still left a sour taste in the mouths of The Bird Gang. It was a big red “L” on the schedule. However, it would prove to be the last “L” the cardinals would see for 5 weeks and the last within the toughest division in football. After winning 6 out of 7 games the Arizona Cardinals football team was riding a rising tide of post season expectation. And still the question remained, “What does 58-0 mean to you?”
Well, what does it mean? To you specifically. I can only tell you what it means to me. And to me it is simple. It’s football. These things happen. And the past is as important as the future in this game. That is, it’s not important in the least. That was one day over a year ago now. One day. And there have been many since. And the only lesson to be learned from that day is that “the now” is all that matters. The past means zilch when you’re facing playoff elimination. The only thing that matters is what happens between those white lines. Not what happened last year. Not what happened the year before. Not even what happened when Kurt Warner brought his lucky number 13 to the desert and lead the team to their greatest heights yet.
To me, 58-0 means one thing. It means that any given Sunday any team can win. And that’s what the Cardinals did yesterday. They won. What does it mean to you?