So while Super Bowl week will revolve around the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals, let's remember the teams that didn't make it with a moment of silence.
Now, let's talk some Super Bowl.
No one expected the Cardinals to be here, not even the biggest, baddest most die-hardest fan of the former Chicago franchise. But let's be honest, how many people expected the Steelers to be here, too.
Look at the preseason prognosticators and you'll see a lot of New England, Indianapolis, San Diego and Jacksonville projections for the big game. And all of those teams had good cases in the preseason, while the Colts and Bolts had a chance to make their mark because they actually made the playoffs.
The only team with a complaint should be the Pats.
They won 11 games and beat the Super Birds by a convincing 527 to negative-12 score in snowy Foxboro, Mass. If this was the B.C.S. (which it thankfully is not) every blogger in America would be pitching a bitch-fit over this injustice that would get blown so out of proportion, it would rival the inhumane treatment of sweatshop workers according to guys hanging out in their parents' basement.
Arizona is who we thought they were: A team that won its games if (AND ONLY IF) they outscored its opponents. Granted, you can't win if you don't score and you can't win if you score fewer points than the team you're playing ... but the birds were at their best when they soared in shootouts.
As for the Steelers, they're better than we thought they were: A gritty defensive club with just enough offense to get by. A healthy Willie Parker, a steady Hines Ward and the emerging presence of Santonio Holmes (who moves faster than those Steely McDong photos across the internet) make Pittsburgh's pummeling team dangerous.
And before you say the Cardinals have no chance to upset the Steelers, I will go on the record and say that they do.
They made it here, didn't they?