5 major underdogs in NFL history the Arizona Cardinals can look up to in 2023

Kurt Warner #13
Kurt Warner #13 / Tom Pidgeon/GettyImages
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The 2023 Arizona Cardinals are major underdogs to make the Super Bowl. But it doesn’t mean they can’t shock the NFL universe and make a run.

The Arizona Cardinals are among the least likely of the 32 teams to make a Super Bowl run in 2023. In fact, most believe the Cards will be one of the NFL’s worst teams and could even land the top two picks in next season’s draft, since they also have the Houston Texans top pick. 

But it’s a long season, and the Cards could easily change their narrative with some upset wins early. It’s happened many times in NFL history and some teams have even gone on to play in, or have even won, the Super Bowl. Below, you will meet five of those teams. Let’s dive in. 

Kurt Warner
St. Louis Rams v San Francisco 49ers / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Teams making unprecedented Super Bowl runs Arizona Cardinals can look to

1 - 1999 St. Louis Rams

The 1998 St. Louis Rams were nothing short of awful, having finished 4-12. Fast-forward to 1999, and they were a different football team with backup and future Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner leading the way. 

The Rams drafted well, and the selection of Torry Holt and the addition of Marshall Faulk made this team click and they ultimately won the Lombardi Trophy. This season, the Cardinals could be in a similar situation, given their 4-13 finish last season, an injury to their starting quarterback, and the addition of a potential-laden receiver in Michael Wilson. 

2 - 2021 Cincinnati Bengals

The 2020 Cincinnati Bengals finished just 4-11-1, and no one gave them a fair chance to come anywhere close to earning their third Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. But Burrow and the Bengals pulled off plenty of upsets in the regular season, including late-season wins over the Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, and Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC North. 

The Bengals then ran the table in the first three rounds of the playoffs, scoring unprecedented victories over the Tennessee Titans and Chiefs, a pair of contests where few gave them a chance. While they lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl, the Bengals still went further than anyone outside of Cincinnati thought they would go.