After the Wes Welker drop, the Mario Manningham catch and the last second Hail Mary, the New York Giants became the world champions of the NFL with a 21-17 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban then tweeted something that got me thinking.
The tweet was simple. It read, "Good teams make the playoffs, the hot team wins the championship."
Time and time again we see it. A team gets going on a roll just at the right time and rolls through the playoffs. The Arizona Cardinals even did that in 2008. They didn't win the Super Bowl, but the example hits close to home.
Getting hot, though, is not the only thing you need. There is one very important piece, and that is great quarterback play.
The Arizona Cardinals for the first part of their season were terrible. They weren't even good. They later, thanks to a great defensive turnaround and timely production from the offense, they won seven of their last nine games but fell short of the playoffs.
The Giants were 9-7 in the regular season. The Cardinals were 8-8. The Giants started Eli Manning at quarterback. That Cardinals started Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.
How does this relate to the Cardinals?
Well, we know they were capable of getting hot late in the season. The thing they were missing was great QB play. What they got out of Skelton and Kolb combined was below average. And even with that, they came pretty close to the playoffs. In the playoffs, it looks doubtful that they would have won, regardless of the defense. The QB play was insufficient.
It seems that the Cardinals may have a shot at acquiring Peyton Manning if he is to be released by the Indianapolis Colts before he $28 million bonus is due. While the team believes that Kevin Kolb can become a great quarterback, if Manning is available, he is a guy who has set the standard of great quarterback play. You cannot turn away from an opportunity like that, even if the window is two to four years to work with. With as much uncertainty in football as there is, you go with what will give you the best shot to win now and in the foreseeable future. Two to four years is all that is foreseeable.
After the team's defense stepped up, literally the one thing left for the Cardinals separating them from good to great is the quarterback position. The San Francisco 49ers showed what very good quarterback play can do with a great defense. You lose in the NFC title game against great QB play.
The Cardinals are really almost there. Fans can have hopes of a deep playoff win and talks of possibly a championship, but it depends on the quarterback position.
The message for the Cardinals? If Peyton Manning hits the market, they need to make every effort to land him. It's that simple.
The team showed they can get hot and win games. I expect nothing less next year with their defense. What is left is the quarterback play. Get that taken care of and we could viably see something special for a few seasons.