The Secret of the Arizona Cardinals' Super Bowl Performance
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.
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.
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: