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The Arizona Cardinals have made one Super Bowl in their history. It wasn't the best ending.
If you're a Cardinals fan and a bettor, it was a really, really rough day.
Let's reset it, with apologies in advance. It's the end of the 2008 NFL season, and the Cardinals have had a great run to the Super Bowl with Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin leading the way. In Super Bowl XLIII they faced the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers were 7-point favorites.
The more important numbers from that day, to some bettors: Arizona was +3 for the first half, and the total for the game was 46.
Super Bowl XLIII had some bad beats
In the final seconds of the first half, the likelihood of Cardinals first-half bettors at least getting a push had to be above 99%.
After all, Arizona trailed 10-7 with 18 seconds left in the first half and had first-and-goal at the Steelers' 2-yard line. Getting at least a field goal and a betting win seemed inevitable. The only thing that could have ruined at least a push was a turnover returned for a touchd .... oh my goodness, no!
Yep. Steelers linebacker James Harrison suddenly picked off Warner and started rumbling down the sideline. No Cardinal could tackle him. Larry Fitzgerald got screened by a teammate on the sideline. Harrison got in the end zone — barely — and the Steelers won the first half 17-7 on one of the most famous plays in NFL history.
If you were an Arizona fan with a +3 first-half ticket, that's the kind of play you might never bounce back from.
Cardinals fans might have lost the under too
Oh, the betting misery wasn't over. Of course, Arizona moneyline bets lost, despite Fitzgerald's majestic touchdown through the middle as he split the Steelers' safeties with 2:37 left. That gave the Cardinals a 23-20 lead. The Steelers answered with a game-winning touchdown drive, with Santonio Holmes scoring with 35 seconds left. It really was a great Super Bowl. Unless you were a Cardinals fan or were on the wrong side of the many bad beats in the game.
The under was another bad beat, and probably the one that affected the most bettors. The score was 20-14 with a little more than three minutes left, well below the total of 46. Then the Steelers took a safety, Fitzgerald scored and Holmes answered. That was 16 points in about three minutes, and a brutal loss for the under bettors, who also could reflect back on Harrison's touchdown return which should have been stopped a few times.
Cardinals' fans have been through a lot. The Cardinals have the longest championship drought in professional sports, dating back to 1947 when they still played in Chicago. There was a whole era in St. Louis since that title and the team's move to Arizona in 1988. Super Bowl XLIII was the Cardinals' best shot since then (well fine, a 1948 NFL championship game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at snowy Shibe Park too).
It was a heartbreaking day for Cardinals fans. Even more so if they had certain bets on the game.