Failure’s last gasp will arrive on Super Bowl Sunday, when the 2022 Arizona Cardinals become the first team in three seasons to miss out on a homefield championship.
In their place, we should all cheer for the 49ers.
That’s because San Francisco’s quarterback, Brock Purdy, is local. A Valley product as Super Bowl quarterback is like a Valley kid going No. 1 in the NHL draft (Auston Matthews) or a Valley kid winning National League MVP (Cody Bellinger). It adds to our growing status as a grassroots mecca.
Imagine the pain that comes with earning a playoff berth, possessing a Super Bowl roster and Super Bowl expectations, only to be stuck with a third-string quarterback forced into action due to injury.
In Arizona, we don’t have to imagine. We lived that nightmare of futility with Ryan Lindley.
To the contrary, San Francisco is undaunted and unbeaten with its third-string quarterback. Entering an NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday, the 49ers are soaring with Mr. Irrelevant at the helm, a quarterback selected with the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are grounded with Kyler Murray, a No. 1 overall pick. Good luck finding a better organizational flex than Purdy and the 49ers.
We should cheer for the 49ers because they are chasing a crowning moment. The Arizona Super Bowl host committee has already presided over two historical Super Bowls in Glendale, gifted the Patriots’ thwarted attempt at perfection and the Seahawks’ controversial play call on the goal line, one of the worst decisions in NFL history.
San Francisco is seeking its sixth Super Bowl trophy, which would tie them with Pittsburgh and New England at the top of the mountain. That’s a big deal.
Finally, we should cheer for the 49ers because their success will put pressure on the Cardinals to perform. To spend. To think big. To swing for the fences.
Already, it is putting pressure on owner Michael Bidwill to make an impact hire at head coach. The 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan is the best in the business under the age of 60, and he might be in San Francisco for another 20 years. Meanwhile, the NFC West also features a pair of Super Bowl champions and master culture builders in Seattle’s Pete Carroll and Los Angeles’ Sean McVay.
The 49ers also feature a great kinship and camaraderie between head coach and general manager, a dynamic considered essential among championship-caliber programs.
But most of all, the 49ers are a big, physical football team that loves to block and tackle and would rather run through you than by you. They have electrifying playmakers on both sides of the ball. They have an aggression, a confidence and an identity that makes me swoon and makes me jealous.
I want a team like the 49ers. Even if they end up celebrating an NFL championship inside State Farm Stadium, inside the Cardinals locker room.
Imagine the fuel/embarrassment that might provide our football team.
Reach Bickley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6-10 a.m. on Arizona Sports.