Let’s review some facts, shall we?
This is the Cardinals’ 20th season in the Valley.
They’ve had a winning record just once, in 1998, when they made their one and only playoff appearance.
Their cumulative record since 1988 is 116-209.
And long before the government was bailing out financial institutions, the Cardinals were benefactors of another rescue plan, when Maricopa County taxpayers, many of whom were season-ticket holders, voted to fund their new stadium/ATM machine.
Frankly, the Cardinals should be on their knees every night, thanking God they have fans who have stood by them the last 20 years.
Instead, you know what we’re hearing this week? That season-ticket holders who have sold their seats to Dallas Cowboys fans for Sunday’s game aren’t “true Cardinal fans.”
“I think it stinks,” quarterback Kurt Warner said. “It’s always hard to tell somebody not to sell something when they can make money on it. But we want our advantage. We’ve fought hard for that. The fans have done a tremendous job sticking with us and now we’re developing something. I just hope we can get to the point where it doesn’t matter who comes into this building.
“Whether half the town is from Dallas or anywhere else, Chicago or whatever, that somehow we can turn them into Cardinals fans to the point they say, 'I don’t care what you’re offering me, I want to go see my Cardinals play.’ ”
With all due respect to Warner, who I greatly admire, he’s dead wrong.
First of all, fans have the right to do whatever they want with their ticket once they’ve paid for it. It’s theirs to use, sell or toss in the trash.
Second, given how the average family is suffering these days, can you blame fans for wanting to recoup some, if not all, of their season-ticket costs?
I know if I’ve paid $500 for two season tickets, and some Cowboys’ fan wants to pay me $650 for my seats, I’ll be more than happy to watch the game from my couch.
“I know from people having discussed this with me, that this is something that’s happened in the past here,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “I hope all our fans hold onto their tickets and support us.”
The ticket swap has to confound Whisenhunt. He came from Pittsburgh, and Steelers’ fans would rather cut off a leg than sell their ducats to Cleveland Browns or Oakland Raiders fans. And if word got out that some fans did commit treason, they’d know what it felt like to be Steve Bartman in Chicago after the 2003 National League championship series.
You know what the Cardinals can do to make sure this doesn’t happen again?
I guarantee you that if they make the playoffs more than once every 20 years and turn some of those 5-11 seasons into 11-5 years, their fan base will grow in number and become more rabid. It won’t take long before fans wouldn’t dream of missing a home game.
Until then, however, the Cardinals will have to endure more Sundays when opposing fans turn out in droves. It will never be as bad as it was at Sun Devil Stadium — I can remember end-of-the-year games where the crowd was 70/30 in favor of the road team — but there will be days when the visitors hear cheers.
Is it the norm in the NFL?
But neither is one winning record in 19 seasons.