Mailbag: Cardinals fans share their stories

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Johnny from Phoenix writes: Hey Sando, I'm a 22 year-old college student. Since relocating to Phoenix eight years ago, my family has become wholeheartedly devoted to the Cardinals. We're certainly not the oldest fans, but we've been around long enough to endure the cycle of futility. And this playoff run is, like, total vindication for the near-decade of chiding we've received from family and friends. But I'm not writing about that. I'm writing to brag about the Arizona Cardinals newest and truest fan: my 83 year-old Granny.

Donna (Granny to everyone) lives in Ohio, and she visited us in Phoenix this past Thanksgiving. Only hours after the big meal, she had a wicked fall and broke her hip. With her in the hospital (prepping for surgery), I spent the rest of the night watching my beloved Birds get man-handled by the Kevin Kolb-less Eagles. Needless to say, it all amounted to a really crappy evening. But as Granny gradually recovered in the hospital, I got a chance to introduce her to football. She had never watched the sport before and didn't know a touchdown from a Triscuit.

But, two months and six Cardinals games later, Granny is totally healed and now wears Cards red for every game. She now yells louder at the refs than she did at the doctors. I now only remind her thrice-per-game that field goals are, yes, still worth three. She now screams for DRC to 'steal that ball again' (whether or not we're on defense).

Granny's even developed a mean-streak; last week she kept imploring us to tackle DeAngelo Williams by his hair. ('Make him really FEEL IT!' or something like that.) Granny's recovery has been a difficult process for everyone, but the Cardinals newfound success has eased some of the burden. It just goes to show new things can be learned at 83 ' and Super Bowls can be won at 88. Keep up the great work with your blog, Sando. We'll look forward to post-game updates after the Cards prevail, 37-20. Blessings, Johnny

Mike Sando: Great story, Johnny. Thanks for sharing. I know you submitted this one shortly after I filed my final mailbag before the NFC Championship Game. I wanted to run it this week because so many Cardinals fans can relate.

Drew from Buffalo writes: Hey sando, if you couldn't tell from my name and city, I'm CardsfaninBuffalo. Sorry if i send you annoying emails but you don't know what it's like to be the loneliest Cards fan in America. I've been a Cards fan since 1994 (I was 9). I've never looked back and never questioned it.

I can remember 98 and even 04 when all the Cards had to do was beat Seattle to make the playoffs and they got killed. I've constantly been ridiculed for wearing my Cards gear around. It feels so good to have all of my friends text me saying things like "congrats, if anyone earned the right to the superbowl it's you and the cards."

I've stood by them through thick and thin, never lost faith and knew that one day, all my troubles would be worth it. This year, sitting in a bar in Buffalo watching the Bills/Cards game, seeing the Cards dismantle the Bills I knew this season will be something special. It has been, more than anyone will ever know.

I'm going to do everything I can to get to Tampa, if I can get there it'd be great to share a beer with you. I know you'll get a million emails just like this but seriously, this season has been so special and the Cards have given me something to believe in. It's incomprehensible. I want to personally thank you for being there throughout the season, always giving a fair and even assessment of the team and their efforts. I know I'm rambling with this email but I don't know what else to do I'm so excited.

Mike Sando: Drew! You've been a regular all season. Thanks for the contributions. We don't have to share that beer. Let's go all out -- one apiece. Seriously, I'm really looking forward to Super Bowl week in part because it'll be cool to see long-suffering fans finally enjoy the Super Bowl stage. Thanks for sharing.

Doug from Chicago writes: SUPERBOWL HERE WE COME!!! I can't believe it, Mike. This year has been crazy. Thank you again for an amazing job covering not only everything Cardinals related but everything West, also. I've truly enjoyed reading your columns and blogs.

Now, not to rain on the parade, but what's your evaluation of the Boldin situation? If this is truly escalating into a problem, then I personally think they'll move him by next season.

Without reading into it too much, I find it disturbing that during what should be one of his biggest moments ever in sports, he chooses to walk away from the celebration and mope in the lock room. I say, if San Diego is really looking at moving forward without LT, make that trade happen. ONLY if this is really becoming a irreconcilable situation. Which I'm fearing it is.

Mike Sando: We'll need to see how well Boldin handles this current situation. Recent events are setting up the Cardinals to handle this situation on their terms more easily. With Fitzgerald emerging even more and the team reaching new heights, the Cardinals might have an easier time envisioning a future without Boldin.

Steve from Redmond, Ore., writes: Apologies to you Mr. Sando!!!! I wrote to you at the beginning of the year and told you how upset I was with you being a writer for the Seahawks long ago and then jumping off their band wagon and joining the Cardinals band wagon. I said some not so nice comments to you! My humble apologies! The Cardinals have proven everything that you said about them this year and to the Super Bowl. I promise I will listen to you more this next year for sure!

Mike Sando: So gracious of you, Steve, but no apologies necessary. I don't view myself as jumping on bandwagons. The coverage hopefully reflects the state of the teams.

Renz from Flagstaff writes: Mike, OMG!!! The Cardinals did it! Just wanted to thank you again for the great coverage you provide. Outside of the Cards' official website, your coverage is the best out there. Be sure and give Mosley a hard time for saying that the Eagle fans would take over UoP Stadium and that Johnson wouldn't let Fitz beat them. LOL! Enjoy your trip to the Super Bowl, courtesy of the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals!!!! - renz

Mike Sando: Thanks, Renz. Much appreciated. It's going to be a great week in Tampa.

Kenzie from Cedar Park, Texas, writes: Thank you for covering the Cardinals all season...living in Texas I don't get a lot of Cardinals news....been a fan since 1988, born and raised in PHX. My parents have had season tickets since 89 and they were at both games....We are all numb! Thank you again.

Mike Sando: You're welcome, but I'm the indebted one here. Thanks to you.

Mitchell from Toronto writes: Mike; This is the most memorable and joyful moment in my life. Going through the up's and down's, season after season, coach after coach, player after player makes this victory even more special. Thank you for your blogging, and I hope you get to cover the blog at the superbowl as you have done a phenomenal job.

Mike Sando: Thanks, Mitchell. I'm definitely booke
d for Tampa. Arriving Sunday.