Whisenhunt's Steelers Roots Advantage For Cardinals

Remember what happened in Super Bowl XXXVII? The year before the Raiders had decided they could do better than Jon Gruden, kicked him out the door, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers said “thank you very much” and hired him as their new head man.

When Gruden’s old and current teams met in the Super Bowl, it was like Tampa Bay knew everything Oakland was going to do even before Oakland did. The result was a 48-21 thrashing by the Bucs.

There could be a repeat of that today.

Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt spent five years on the Steelers staff, two as offensive coordinator, before taking the helm of one of the longest-suffering franchises in the NFL. Whisenhunt knows what the Steelers like to do on both sides of the ball, knows their key personnel and tendencies very well, and has some insight into how Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin thinks.

Remember, also, that in the fourth game of the 2007 season, just a handful of games into the Whisenhunt era, the Cardinals played and beat the Steelers. It was a game where the Steelers led at half when Whisenhunt inserted Kurt Warner, and he proceeded to spark the Cardinals comeback. (To be fair, Matt Leinart came back into the game and led the game winning drive.)

Knowledge without execution is useless — any information Whisenhunt can provide is just step one, the Cardinals players need to do something with it. But that is still a first step, and in the Super Bowl that can be enough to get a head start and a win.

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