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Friday, January 22, 2016

Arizona Cardinals: Super Bowl Hunger

By Douglas V. Gibbs

This is a political website, and if there is any sports commentary, it is usually written by our most prolific writer, JASmius.  Yours truly, despite owning Political Pistachio, has found it difficult to write on the website like I used to, primarily due to factors involving the expansion of my Constitution Classes, and other endeavors that steal a giant chunk of time.  That said, I have something to say about this Sunday's Conference Championship Games - of which I will be watching (for you local folks to know) at RJ's Sizzling Steer in Murrieta, California.

So far in the playoffs I am 8-for-8 in my picks.  I haven't written about them, but trust me when I say I've picked well.  In my opinion it was safe to pick all of the visitors in the first round, and the home teams in the second round of games.  Easy picks.  Now, it gets difficult. . . at least when it comes to the NFC.

In the AFC, there is an old saying.  "Never bet against Tom Brady."  Tom Terrific is still about the best the game has to offer.  This season's numbers, despite the fact that his offensive line is suspect, and his targets have varied based on injuries (most notable Edelman's foot injury November 15, and TE Gronkowski's injury a week later), were absolutely amazing for Brady.  I am not putting down New England's squad, but they are in the championship game because of Tom Brady.

Payton Manning, missing much of the season, is not the man he was.  He is still a powerhouse, and can beat just about anybody in the NFL.  But Tom Brady is not just anybody, and Manning's weapons are not who they once were.  The New England Patriots will win the AFC Championship with ease.  In fact, Denver's brass may even bring in Osweiler to try and save the game. . . maybe.

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers has been pretty incredible, and Carolina has been fun to watch.  15-1 does not happen to flukes, or by accident.  What Cam, and his Panthers, have done is nothing short of amazing, incredible, and deserving of high praise.

After an eight year, lackluster career in Cincinnati (with losses in the wild-card game the two times the team made the playoffs with Palmer behind center), Carson Palmer became a problem.  He did not want to be with the Bengals, anymore, and he had even come to the conclusion he wanted out of football.  The Oakland Raiders bought his contract, and saved Palmer's career.  Palmer still lost in Oakland, and after his second losing year with Oakland, Palmer was picked up by Arizona.  Do not doubt for a moment the importance of his two years with Oakland.  The Raiders saved Palmer's NFL career by overpaying for a what was believed to be a washed-up quarterback that never seemed to pull it together.  No other team was desperate enough to do the same.

Since he's been in Arizona, Palmer has grown.  He has matured as a quarterback, as a team player, and as a person.  And in 2015 he became hungry.  Winning, after all, is contagious, and becomes a never-ending need for more and more.  The great quarterback we saw at USC, and the flashes of brilliance and natural talent that emerged occasionally in Cincinnati and Oakland, became consistent in 2015.  Granted, this is late in Palmer's career.  He's 36 years old.  That is why the hunger is even more intense.  He knows this is his chance, he has the weapons to do it, and he may never get this opportunity again.  Therefore, Carson's hunger, and veteran experience he possesses, will defeat Cam Newton's youthful greatness.

The Super Bowl, however, may be a whole different matter.  As I said earlier, you never bet against Brady.  However, Tom Brady can be beat.  He has been defeated, on occasion.  I am leaning towards Palmer's hunger being big enough to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. . . if Arizona gets past the Carolina Panthers.

If I am wrong, and Cam Newton's Carolina Panthers somehow dispatch the Arizona Cardinals, Tom Terrific's New England Patriots will win yet another Super Bowl, with ease.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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