Cardinals rewind: Loss adds to Valley's persecution complex
DEC 02, 2013 1:17p ET
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Phoenix sports fans have a long history of perceived persecution by the men in black and white.
Suns fans still talk about Robert Horry's hip check of Steve Nash in the 2007 Western Conference semifinals, and the subsequent, inequitable fallout. Coyotes fans believe L.A.'s Dustin Brown got away with murder, not an open-ice hit on Michal Rozsival in the 2012 Western Conference Final. Cardinals fans believe that Santonio Holmes only got one foot down in bounds on his Super Bowl-winning catch in 2009.
ASU fans know Jeff Pedergraph did not go over the back on that dunk against USC in the closing seconds of their 2008 Pac-10 Tournament game -- the one that likely cost ASU an NCAA Tournament berth. And those same fans saw what everybody else saw in Madison, Wis. -- a blatant pass interference call committed on Sun Devil wide receiver T.J. Simpson in the end zone in a 20-19 loss in 2010.
NFL officials added angst to the Valley's victim complex in the Cardinals' 24-21 loss to the Eagles on Sunday when Cards defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and linebacker Matt Shaughnessy got flagged for holding while Cards' receiver Michael Floyd couldn't get a call in plain view of the officials.
On Monday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians opened his press conference by telling reporters the team had followed league protocols and sent tape of the game to the NFL offices.
Arians said there were about 15 plays in question.
"That's pretty high," he said. "I think that's considered a problem."
Arians said he got responses from the league to most of his questions before he ever left the locker room on Sunday, but he got no satisfaction from what were likely admissions that officials erred.
"No, I just get madder," Arians said, smiling.
But Arians knows those are the breaks that come in professional sports. Did they impact the loss? Sure. Did they cause it? You just can't make that leap. There were too many other missed opportunities for the Cardinals in Philadelphia, and if you review the game tape, you'll find a few calls that went the Cardinals' way earlier in the game.
When asked what message he would deliver to the team to ensure it turns the page quickly on such a tough loss in order to focus on the four games left in the season, Arians was firm.
"We haven't won a division game in two years (the Cards actually beat Seattle in the season opener last season), and we play the division this week," he said of Sunday's game against the Rams. "If we're ever going to be anything, we'd better start winning in our division.
"That's our only focus this week. I don't want to hear about anything else in our locker except winning a division game, so that's the message."
When asked if the loss could cost the Cardinals a playoff game, Arians added this: "It possibly could, but I think a lot of things have to happen here in the last four weeks. I would hope that we give up all that talk this week and just focus on the St. Louis Rams."
Right after Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald bounced off a tackle and took a pass from Carson Palmer 43 yards to the end zone to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the second quarter, Philadelphia responded with two scoring drives to end the half -- a nine-play, 68-yard field-goal drive and a nine-play, 78-yard touchdown drive for a 17-7 halftime lead. From that point on, the Cardinals were chasing the game.