The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

The Beauty of Cinderellas

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When it comes to a Cinderella story, I'd prefer actually having Cinderella than any of her stepsisters. They do not hurt football, in fact they do just the opposite. Cinderellas excite the fans, they offer a reason to believe that this is their year. It also gives fans a reason to keep watching and rooting even when their team is out.

And they remind us all that the Goliaths don't win all the time.

This isn't just in football. It spans throughout the sporting world. Just look at the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays or the 2007 Colorado Rockies. That same year in the NBA, we had Golden State upsetting top-seeded Dallas. There was Boise State's undefeated season and thrilling Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma. And one can't forget George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four, or Villanova's 1985 NCAA Championship over behemoth Georgetown.

The 2008 Cardinals are a Cinderella story -- if you want to call it that -- because their franchise is a failure historically. And at 9-7 this season in a weak NFC West, it's a surprise to most that Arizona is in the Big Game. But it's not completely unexpected. There are only six teams per conference in the playoffs and in a one-and-done playoff format anything can happen.

Whether Arizona's really a Cinderella team or not by definition is irrelevant. They are unique and uncommon enough to the post-season to at least represent one to fans still looking for a reason to care about the Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh's been there, done that. The Cardinals offer something new, something fresh. The hour will soon arrive for this Cinderella to prove its ultimate worth. For Arizona's sake, may the game end before midnight.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  January 23, 2009; 2:07 PM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Pittsburgh Steelers , Zach Leibowitz Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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