Finally a home field advantage. Well at least this is what the giant big screens at new Cardinals Stadium read during the stadium introduction. It also called Cardinals fans the “best fans in the NFL”. Yeah it was a laughable comment, but to the 20,000 true season ticket holders that have stuck with a team year after year, well those are pretty damn good fans. The new stadium is obviously more than just a new stadium. It signifies a new era of Cardinals football, although Matt Leinart is still unsigned and they are still significantly under the cap, but hey some habits die hard. The game was sold out; every game is sold out this year. The most defining moment came when Cardinal fans out numbered Steelers fans (maybe the best traveling fans in the NFL) about 50,000 to 10,000. So when the Steelers got introduced the boos were louder than the cheers (except for Big Ben). That was nice, especially after years of the opposite. The “Lets Go Steelers” chants that would have reigned supreme at Sun Devil Stadium, well they were drowned out so quickly you could not really tell they started. It’s amazing to see, it’s like another universe. This could actually become a football town.
As for the stadium itself, well it’s pretty awesome. They could play on Astroturf, with bad lighting, no sound system and no giant TVs and if they still had AC it would be great. However the stadium outdoes itself. It has a retractable natural grass field so when games aren’t being played they can roll it out into the sunlight. It also features a retractable roof so when it is nice outside you can enjoy the weather. It features two giant screens in each end zone and even though they had some troubles it was just day one. I don’t even know what else it had, I didn’t tour the stadium. I was too caught up in the fact that the Cardinals have a state of the art facility. It looks awesome and huge from the outside. Not to mention Sportsman’s Park, this is pretty much just a giant lawn with tents that fans can tailgate at. It was pretty bland on day one, but they are in the process of planting trees and making it look awesome. The stadium does reside out in the middle of nowhere, the only thing next to it besides miles of desert and farm land is the hockey arena. That will change soon. Tons of fans were annoyed by long waits to get into the parking lot (although a few things need to be fixed, a lot of the fans don’t seem to get the fact when a game is sold out you get there EARLY). I arrived at about 11 for a 1pm kickoff and had no delay. I also managed to avoid the lines of thousands of people waiting to get into the stadium (just know this, a long line usually doesn’t mean that’s the only way in. People are sheep, they follow each other. There is always a faster way) and got inside right when it opened, I believed I performed one of the most drastic line cuts in human history (I seriously think there was over 1,000 people in this one line). People also complained about the concession lines, but I had no problem with that either. I think I just got really, really lucky.
As for the actual game, well the Cardinals won 21-13. I have learned to not put any stock at all (unless there are injuries) in ANYTHING that happens in the preseason. The Cardinals looked very good in the preseason last year and went 5-11, the Colts went 0-5 in the preseason last year and finished 14-2. I will give you a few thoughts though:
After watching backup QB John Navarre play, well Leinart should keep holding out because he will get his money eventually. Navarre will make sure of that.
Boldin and Fitz are the best WR duo in the league; it’s just not fair what they can do.
I think the defense is going to be a bend but don’t break style.
Still no running game.
That being said I think I am already sick of the preseason. Bring on the regular season and a new era of Cardinal football!