Larry Fitzgerald didn’t need Saturday’s heroic playoff performance to etch his place on the Mount Rushmore of Arizona sports icons but what happened at University of Phoenix Stadium will never be forgotten among a fan base starving for their first major professional sports title in 15 years.
The likable, humble superstar has had a rebirth of sorts playing in the slot for head coach Bruce Arians. Fitz’s 1,215 receiving yards was his first 1,000-yard season since 2011. Not bad for a 32-year old who many believed was on the downside of his career.
“I tend to probably inflate Larry Fitzgerald’s value,” SI.com Senior NFL Writer Peter King said to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat during his weekly interview Tuesday. “This is a crazy thing to say: Larry Fitzgerald is a better wide receiver today than he was earlier in his career.”
Despite his bounce back season this fall Fitzgerald has made just as big impact in places that don’t show up on stat sheets or covers of Sports Illustrated.
“He has become a Keyshawn Johnson-type blocker, a Hines Ward-kind-of-blocker,” King told Cesmat. “A willing and really effective blocker, number one. Number two, he genuinely wants J.J. Nelson to have 100-yard games…he’s an invaluable guy during the week with the other receivers on his team. I can’t say enough about him.”
The good news for the Bird Gang is the “old” man’s still got it.
He’s hoping “it” will help lead the Cardinals back to the Super Bowl Sunday night in Charlotte and script another chapter in Fitz’s legacy.