Why the Cardinals could win the Super Bowl with Colt McCoy if needed

(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) Colt McCoy
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) Colt McCoy /

A Super Bowl appearance for the Arizona Cardinals this season is still possible if the team is forced to give Colt McCoy additional starts at quarterback.

The Arizona Cardinals were leading 31-7 in the third quarter in Week 9’s contest against the San Francisco 49ers. No, Kyler Murray wasn’t playing quarterback. It was the 12-year career-backup Colt McCoy. DeAndre Hopkins was ruled out. Ditto for A.J. Green. Leaving Christian Kirk as the team’s top receiver.

Want more fun? Their starting running back, Chase Edmonds, went down with an injury in the first series, leaving James Conner, a running back who flamed out in Pittsburgh, to carry the load.

McCoy dominated. Kirk proved he was capable of filling in for the big names ahead of him, and Conner took the league lead in touchdowns scored this season with an outstanding performance. And they did this against what was then the league’s second-ranked defense heading into Week 9.

The Cardinals play the Carolina Panthers in Week 10, and given injuries to their own starting quarterback, Sam Darnold, it would be wise to sit Murray and perhaps Hopkins for another week. But what if they missed extended time? What if Hopkins and Murray experienced setbacks late in the year?

Arizona Cardinals could still win a Super Bowl with Colt McCoy filling in for Kyler Murray

Can the Cardinals win the Super Bowl with Colt McCoy? Let’s overreact, because situations like this have happened in the past. And the Cardinals have an eerily similar formula to the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, who won the Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer.

The Ravens’ defense highlighted their Super Bowl XXXV run. Who was the Ravens’ top pass catcher? Shannon Sharpe, previously a star tight-end with the Denver Broncos. Sounds a lot like Zach Ertz‘s situation.

And two seasons later, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used an identical formula with Brad Johnson playing quarterback. The Buccaneers had Keshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell as their biggest names during their Super Bowl run. Two receivers who began their careers on other football teams. Sounds like Hopkins and Green if the duo returns to the field healthy.

Do you need a more recent example? What about Nick Foles, who authored the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl run? A team whose defense allowed just 295 points that season.

So yeah, although I’m overreacting, I’m also saying it’s possible the Cardinals can ride Colt McCoy to their first Super Bowl Championship. And if you noticed yet another common denominator regarding the three teams mentioned above, the 2000 Ravens, 2002 Buccaneers, and 2017 Eagles won their first Super Bowl Championships during those respective seasons.

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If Murray’s injury hampers him all season, don’t panic. Odds are, McCoy won’t carry the team. But history also shows it’s still possible for the Cardinals to hoist the Lombardi Trophy without their franchise quarterback.