Do NFL teams with rosters stacked with Super Bowl-experienced players have an advantage over the Arizona Cardinals?
The Arizona Cardinals just don’t have them. Players walking around the locker room who know what it takes. Players who truly know what it takes to get to the Promised Land, the Super Bowl.
Well, they do have five, but that’s not much. Two of the five are actually leftovers from the organization’s own trip to the “Big Game”. That was their heart-breaking defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, which came at the end of the 2008 season.
Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald is one of the two from that game who’s still a Cardinal (at least for now). Being that Fitzgerald is one of the greatest Cards in history, it’s extremely appropriate that he’d be one to show others the way. His performance in that game ( 7 receptions, 127 yards and two scores) is every bit as memorable as his career has been.
The other current Cardinal from that day is free agent-to-be Calais Campbell. The defensive end, one of Arizona’s most respected leaders, was a rookie that year. Playing in a game of that magnitude so early in a career is an outstanding welcome to the NFL.
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When the club acquired outside linebacker Chandler Jones last offseason, they were getting more than just a Pro Bowl player. They were also bringing someone with a Super Bowl ring into the locker room. Jones became a champion when his former team, the New England Patriots, emerged victorious in Super Bowl XLIII.
Cards’ starting left guard Mike Iupati was a full-time player for the San Francisco 49ers when they faced the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. Although he and his Niner teammates came out on the losing end of a tough contest, Iupati got to play in the biggest game of his career. The knowledge he obtained in that defeat was brought with him to the desert in 2015.
Long snapper Aaron Brewer (also scheduled for free agency in March) was signed by Arizona on September 28th, 2016. He was part of the Super Bowl-winning Denver Broncos squad who triumphed in February of 2016 over the Carolina Panthers. There’s a decent chance Brewer returns to the Cards for the 2017 campaign.
Five players who have played in a Super Bowl is not many. Especially considering three of the five are free agents, and another (Fitzgerald) may retire. If having players with Super Bowl experience is an important component to getting to, or winning one, then Arizona may be doomed.