When the Cardinals were sitting at 1-5 and 1-6 and mired in their losing streak, there was actually a point where I debated on Twitter (@cardschatter everyone. Shameless plug) about the Cards chances for draft position and quarterback Andrew Luck. There were some out there who believed the Cards wouldn’t win another game — a thought even at the time that seemed foolish to me, and of course, looks even moreso now.
But the fact the Cards have not only a realistic chance to get back to .500 by season’s end but perhaps even post a winning record, quite frankly, is stunning. To everyone.
“It would be unbelievable,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said of the possibility of going 9-7. “It would be very significant for the character of our football team.”
It certainly says a lot about the focus of the team. I’ve been around Cardinals’ teams that folded the tent by midseason. Didn’t happen this year, obviously.
It got me thinking how rare it has to be to start a season so poorly and get back to .500. The Cards, at 6-7, need only to win two of the final three (Cleveland at home, at Cincinnati, home against Seattle) to do that. The thing it — and this shocked me — it isn’t quite that rare.
Since 1970, eight teams have actually started a season with 0-7 or 1-6 record and rebounded to finish .500, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Cardinals actually had a hand in the last team to do it: The 2009 Tennessee Titans were 1-6 (they actually started 0-6) before finishing 8-8. One of those eight wins? A 20-17 win over the Kurt Warner-less Cards in Tennessee, when Matt Leinart subbed in and had the Cards in position for a big win, only to see Vince Young quarterback a stunning 99-yard drive and throw a TD on the final play of the game (Yeah, rough memories there).
Nevertheless, it would still mean a lot for this team to climb all the way out of the hole — even if it almost demands some “What if” debate about earlier in the season.
Tags: Ken Whisenhunt
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