Sports

The Secret of the Arizona Cardinals' Super Bowl Performance

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Faithful Hit & Runner Lamar points to the Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi writing in the best Chamber of Commerce-ese that runs through sportswriting like crabs in an NBA locker room:

Build it and they will come.

The wins, that is.

The Orlando Magic have told us; the Arizona Cardinals have shown us.

If ever you doubted that a new arena or a new stadium can actually help a professional sports team win a championship then look no further than one of the worst franchises in the history of athletic competition….

Do you realize how bad the Cardinals were before they built their new stadium three years ago? The franchise was established in 1898 and until now had never reached a Super Bowl. In fact, they haven't won a championship of any kind since they were the Chicago Cardinals, which was six decades and three cities ago.

Whole thing here.

I don't know anyone who doubted that a new stadium doesn't jazz up players on an emotional level. And there's little doubt that the Cards, who I hope win the Super Bowl, have long sucked (what more can you expect from a franchise whose first title came in 1925 via an off-the-field ruling that the Pottsville Maroons had violated league rules?). It's also equally true that they've sucked in a variety of settings, eras, and cities. Pegging their recent success, especially in a league that shares revenue, to the team's newish publicly funded stadium is pretty problematic.

Bianchi argues that "without access to the revenue stream a modern stadium produces, it's difficult for a family owned team to compete." Take a gander at NFL team payrolls in 2008 and try to figure out the correlation between what you pay your team and how they wind up. As Raiders fans could tell you, it's really not clear, is it?

And when it comes to figuring out the correlation between new stadiums and gridiron suckage, you've got to factor in what might be called the Ohio rule: How do you explain the fact that the Browns and the Bengals, regardless of relatively new and relatively plush stadiums (and in the case of the Browns, a very high payroll) stink on Astroturf—and every other playing surface known to mankind?

I suspect that I love professional and college sports more than the next person, but they are a total scam when it comes to questions of civic development and financing by taxpayers. And on that note, watch this Reason.tv piece set at a new stadium which manifestly failed to yield the wins so far:

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  1. Reliant Staduim, Houston Texans, 8-8 is their best season. Nuff said.

  2. One word: Seahawks.

    Argument obliterated like a nuclear explosion.

    No, fuck that. Two words: Mariners, Seahawks.

    Argument DOUBLE obliterated like a super-duper really big nuclear bomb. So big, it’s pronounced “nucular”.

  3. Fucking Browns. God. Fucking fuckidy fuck. Fucking Phil Savage asshole albino fucker. God! Fuck. Shit! Fuck!

  4. what more can you expect from a franchise whose first title came in 1925 via an off-the-field ruling that the Pottsville Maroons had violated league rules

    I’m amazed there used to be an NFL team based in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. It’s like having one in Green Bay.

  5. The Maroons?

    Really? The Pottsville Maroons?

    That sounds like a team in an Bugs Bunny cartoon.

  6. High revenue may lead teams to build better practice facilities, enticing players to sign with them, but the payroll cap in football keeps any city from running wild (unlike Yankees) when it comes to paying for talent.
    So any correlation between revenue producing stadiums and winning titles is probably coincidental.

  7. Paul beat me to it, especially wrt the Mariners. That francise belongs in the suck hall of shame.

  8. I actually live in Phoenix, so I’m getting a kick out of these replies.

    But seriously, ASU stadium is known as the “House of Heat.” A night game can still be 100 degrees. Needless to say, very few fans are willing to shell out to see a pro team in 100+ degree weather.

    So, new stadium has a new dome. Fans actually show up. Games are no longer blacked out on TV. Bada bing, you have more cap to play with.

    It’s certainly not the only factor, or even the main factor, but I don’t see how more revenues is a negative.

  9. The seahawks did make it to the superbowl, no doubt helped along by the acoustics of seahawk stadium (just look at how many delay of game penalties the other teams would take). But IIRC the same advantage was there at the kingdome as well.

  10. Um…the Cardinals didn’t get better.

    The NFC got worse.

    The Cardinals shouldn’t even be a playoff team.

    So your real argument should be, “Having a new stadium will help you put a couple of wins together after you make the playoffs when you didn’t deserve to,” because that’s what is really happening here.

    No team that put out the performance the Cardinals did in New England in week 15 should be in the Super Bowl.

  11. Hey joe, I hear they played the Albacoikie Nincowpoops for the regional title.

  12. How many times can Seahawks’ Mike Holmgren say the word “unacceptable” during a post-game press conference?

  13. If ever you doubted that a new arena or a new stadium can actually help a professional sports team win a championship then look no further than one of the worst franchises in the history of athletic competition….

    I fuckin’ dare you all to top this story of a new (publicly financed) stadium and a crappy team. I live in Detroit, home of the worst franchise in the history of athletic competition.

    Ford Field was constructed after Comerica Park, opening in 2002. It cost an estimated $430 million to build, financed largely through public money and the sale of the naming rights.

    And the Lions have sucked ever since.

  14. The Lions have gone 29 and 83 since Ford Field opened. They went 3 and 13 in Ford Field’s inaugural season.

  15. Damn! I screwewd up the Ford Field link in my previous. Sorry.

  16. The Lions have gone 29 and 83 since Ford Field opened. They went 3 and 13 in Ford Field’s inaugural season.

    They were 9-7 and barely missed the playoffs the last season in the Silverdome. They have not played .500 in a season since and set the NFL mark for suckitude in 2008 with a record of 0-16.

  17. Right, Fluffy. They should have just put the Giants and Titans in the Super Bowl and forgotten about the playoffs altogether. After all, both those teams beat the Steelers during the regular season, as well as compiling better records than either conference champion.

    Beyond that, why even bother with the Super Bowl itself? Just crown the team with the best regular season record NFL champion.

  18. I’m kidding, by the way. Though as a Cubs fan I almost wish MLB would get rid of that troublesome first round playoff… 🙁

  19. Yet the Lions only stopped selling out home games in 2008 so they had no reason to get better.

  20. they need to bring a pro football franchise back to Pottsville. the Maroons are the real champions of 1925.

  21. “without access to the revenue stream a modern stadium produces, it’s difficult for a family owned team to compete.”

    That’s why the Yankees (family owned) have sucked all these years. But this season they move into new digs. Maybe their fortunes will finally change.

  22. As a Mariners fan, I have to say I like the ballpark. It’s big and roomy and there’s lots of amenities and the sightlines are great. I agree it didn’t make the team any better, but is that really the point?

    If the government really thinks that Seattle, say, needs a winning baseball team, it should nationalize them! Call them the Federal Mariners and draft promising players from other teams to play for them.

  23. >”I don’t know anyone who doubted that a new stadium doesn’t jazz up players on an emotional level.”

    Double negative … could you clarify what you mean here?

  24. What does the fact that they were founded in 1898 have to do with Super Bowls? The first Super Bowl was in 1966, meaning that any team founded before them had just as many chances, whether they were founded in 1965 or 1750.

  25. Bianchi is a fucking moron. He’s stupid even for a sportswriter. I stopped reading the Sentinel – even if I can get it for free – in part because they’re paying this guy.

  26. “Bianchi is a fucking moron. He’s stupid even for a sportswriter. I stopped reading the Sentinel – even if I can get it for free – in part because they’re paying this guy.”

    I hadn’t read Bianchi until this article because I don’t have much interest in Orlando sports (I grew up in Tampa Bay). Plus, the Orlando Sentinel is an unabashed cheerleader for the city spending close to a billion bucks on a group of buildings that are going to, er, magically make Orlando a classy ‘world class city.’

    But this article crosses the line between asinine and insulting. Hey, I’m a consensus builder. So I have to assume that Bianchi knows he is full of crap, but thinks that people in Orlando are just too stupid to notice. But now I think BakedPenguin is right.

    The kicker…the thing that makes it all so rich, is that the Magic are currently one of the elite teams in the NBA in the old arena. Bianchi’s own home team contradicts his premise.

  27. Bianchi (along with most of Orlando Sentinal’s sportswriters)is a huge shill for government financed sports facilities. I guess they were nervous about their jobs when the Magic were agitating for a new arena, and made some noises about moving the team out of Central Florida. This despite the fact that the current arena is less than two decades old and imany of it’s most glaring deficiencies were design features the Magic requested in design.

    Earlier this month Bianchi wrote an article about the dire need to renovate the Citrus Bowl because of fears that Orlando would lose the Capital One Bowl because of the stadium’s decrepitude. Keep in mind the Citrus Bowl hosts 3 football games a year, a couple of monster truck rallies and maybe a pro wrestling event, as UCF built an on-campus stadium a couple years ago and bugged out.

    Bianchi’s argument that the Cardinals made the big game specifically because of their new digs is odd. They had the worst regular season record of any Super Bowl qualifier (one game above .500), and got in largeky becaue they played in the worst division in pro ball. Their playoff run has been impressive, but they also got their asses throroughly handed to them in several games this season. Also he kind of blames the team’s pathetic history on not having it’s own stadium despite that being the norm for most pro football teams during that time. I’m not sure how having to share a baseball stadium hurt the ’70’s Steelers and the ’80’s and ’90’s 49ers.

  28. pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates pirates

  29. Oh yeah, the Citrus Bowl renovation is a $150 million plus project.

  30. “1925
    Five new franchises were admitted to the NFL-the New York Giants, who were awarded to Tim Mara and Billy Gibson for $500; the Detroit Panthers, featuring Jimmy Conzelman as owner, coach, and tailback; the Providence Steam Roller; a new Canton Bulldogs team; and the Pottsville Maroons, who had been perhaps the most successful independent pro team. The NFL established its first player limit, at 16 players.

    Late in the season, the NFL made its greatest coup in gaining national recognition. Shortly after the University of Illinois season ended in November, All-America halfback Harold (Red) Grange signed a contract to play with the Chicago Bears. On Thanksgiving Day, a crowd of 36,000-the largest in pro football history-watched Grange and the Bears play the Chicago Cardinals to a scoreless tie at Wrigley Field. At the beginning of December, the Bears left on a barnstorming tour that saw them play eight games in 12 days, in St. Louis, Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Chicago. A crowd of 73,000 watched the game against the Giants at the Polo Grounds, helping assure the future of the troubled NFL franchise in New York. The Bears then played nine more games in the South and West, including a game in Los Angeles, in which 75,000 fans watched them defeat the Los Angeles Tigers in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

    Pottsville and the Chicago Cardinals were the top contenders for the league title, with Pottsville winning a late-season meeting 21-7. Pottsville scheduled a game against a team of former Notre Dame players for Shibe Park in Philadelphia. Frankford lodged a protest not only because the game was in Frankford’s protected territory, but because it was being played the same day as a Yellow Jackets home game. Carr gave three different notices forbidding Pottsville to play the game, but Pottsville played anyway, December 12. That day, Carr fined the club, suspended it from all rights and privileges (including the right to play for the NFL championship), and re-turned its franchise to the league. The Cardinals, who ended the season with the best record in the league, were named the 1925 champions.”

    http://www.nfl.com/history/chronology/1921-1930

    Pottsville apparently did not realize what playing in a league meant.

  31. JayD sez Yet the Lions only stopped selling out home games in 2008 so they had no reason to get better.

    Airing out the dirty secret of professional sports – the teams exist to make money, not win championships (which exist just to solidify the customer base).

    Cue P.T. Barnum.

    And to you Cubs fans – at least those lovable losers don’t piss and moan about how they need a new stadium to be [non]competitive.

  32. Per wikipedia, the Flavian Amphitheatre aka the Roman Coliseum was used for about 350 years. Right now for pro sports, except for Fenway and Wrigley, not a single one of the big 4 (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) play in a facility built before the Korean War armistice was declared.

  33. …I have to assume that Bianchi knows he is full of crap, but thinks that people in Orlando are just too stupid to notice.

    That’s exactly what I meant, but he’s not smart enough to be condescending. He doesn’t realize how shitty his argument is, and he can’t be bothered to check it. I wasn’t insulting him (and I’m rarely that vicious) because he’s not a libertarian, I was insulting him because he is a complete moron who is incapable of putting together a worthwhile argument.

    His non-political columns are utter drivel as well.

  34. Airing out the dirty secret of professional sports – the teams exist to make money, not win championships (which exist just to solidify the customer base).

    The Lions cannot even do that right.

    Forbes: Lions lose money as well as games

  35. Hmmmm….new stadium mean team wins.

    Classic “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” logical fallacy.

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/post-hoc.html

    Oh yeah – what every one said about the Mariner and Seahawks sucking @$$. They sucked in the Kingdome. Now, the city of Seattle has a billion dollars of new stadiums and they still suck.

    Yup…..and the city’s roads suck, they want to toll everything to replace the viaduct and the 520 bridge. yup….smart planning you retards. Build stadiums, ignore the roads, bridges and schools.

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