Two of the NFL’s most well known rules were proven right again on Sunday night. You don’t bet against Bill Belichick no matter how dismal the odds look for him and you should never buy into the Arizona Cardinals hype.
Coming into the NFL opening weekend and its marquee Sunday night matchup, the Cards were favored by 9.5 points against the depleted Patriots. With Tom Brady out for his first game of a four game suspension for making America talk about balls for so long that they no longer snicker at the word, their best offensive target and all around playboy, Rob Gronkowski out with a groin injury — I imagine due to overuse — and Arizona being a popular Super Bowl pick it felt like the recipe for a blowout. That is, until you remember that this is an Arizona sports team and we all have a great monthly rate on a room at the Heartbreak Hotel.
Believe me, the irony of Carrie Underwood using a song that has a refrain that includes the line “Got a real good feelin’ something bad about to happen” for the Sunday Night Football theme song wasn’t lost on me. Something bad did happen to the Cardinals in the form of an attitude adjustment. The last time we saw underdog New England Patriots surprise a group of guys in red uniforms that badly was 1776.
It’s not the ideal way to start the season but it could just be the Draymond Green-ing the doctor order. We can finally put the Super Bowl talk and unnecessary hype to rest for the time being. Since the summer and the release of ‘All or Nothing’ it began to feel like the fans, the country and the Cardinals themselves had drank the big red Koolaid by the gallon. An unexpected loss to an undermanned team you could face again come February on the opening night of the year reminds everyone that reading your own press clippings and buying into them can turn into any team’s Achilles heel no matter how great.
If you’ve been a fan in Arizona for any matter of time you had to realize things weren’t just going to come easy. Success, however marginal, is earned through blood, tears and an immense amount of heartbreak. Sunday isn’t the first time and won’t be the last time the Cardinals let us down. If they learn from it though, it may be time to rewrite the rulebook at the end of the season proving that the Birdgang can handle hype and that you can bet against Belichick. That or we’ll just realize, no matter what, we’ll always have a permanent residence down on lonely street at Heartbreak Hotel.