They completely failed to support their team back when going to a game might've warranted two applications of sunscreen and a couple of bottles of water, and now they're routinely out-cheered by opposing fans in their own cushy retractable-roof stadium.

When the Philadelphia Eagles took a one-point lead in the NFC Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium, before the Cardinals came back and won, the hugely outnumbered Philly contingent was deafening.

In Arizona, "fan" hardly means "fanatic."

Jamie Peachey
The former Birdman demonstrates a ferocious pose.
Birdman
The former Birdman demonstrates a ferocious pose.

Details

See shots of the finest citizens from Steeler Nation in our slide show "Pittsburgh's Prettiest"

Also: Check out how put the ultimate Cardinals fan on this week's cover.

It would be unbelievable in a historic football city, but the Cards almost didn't sell out their first-round playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons, requiring an extension from the league to avoid a local TV blackout. This sort of thing hasn't gone unnoticed nationally.

At the beginning of the season, ESPN ranked every NFL team's fan base, and the Cardinal's came in dead last: 32nd. This season, things have changed on the field. Now, it's time for things to change in the stands and at the sports bars.

Cardinals fans need to step up, develop some toughness, lest our state be humiliated by the boisterous support enjoyed by our opponents, who — because of five Super Bowl victories — have a national fan base. The same ESPN article that named Cardinals fans the worst in the NFL put the Steelers at the very top. Rest assured, Steeler Nation is going to bring it.

Clayton Jacobson of Parker's is the kind of fan the Cards need. Born in Englewood, California, he adopted the Red Birds during their Tempe days and has been a season ticket-holder since.

"We have, I call it, a make-believe fan base," Jacobson says. "They don't really understand the power of the 12th man — they have no idea.

"I have a friend who's a Seattle Seahawks fan, and I took him to his first Cardinals game this year — when we played the Bills — and he converted to a Cardinals fan. He was like 'What's wrong with your fans, man?! The stadium's full, but no one knows how to yell. No one makes any noise. It's really weird.'

"He believes in the 12th man because he was up in Seattle and he's seen it actually happen, but the people here, they don't understand it yet."

Negativity's the problem, Jacobson says. Cardinals fans need to feel the mojo and expect to win. At the NFC Championship game, he was surrounded by fans who complained about the third-quarter collapse that could've given the Eagles the game. When he'd had enough of the complaining, he challenged another Cards fan to a fight.

"Cardinals fans were getting quieter, when they should've been getting louder. My thing was, hey, we're behind now. They really need us! But, no, not Cardinals fans," he says. "At the time, everybody in the end zone was sitting down. And this guy behind me's saying, 'Yep, I told you. I told you they are going to lose this game.'

"And that was it. I stood up, I turned around and I said, 'Look, pull your head out of your ass and root for our team! One more negative statement out of you and I'm going to kick your ass.'

"This guy goes, 'But they're playing shitty.' And I go, 'Look, dude, I don't think you heard me: I'm going to beat the living shit out of you if you have one more comment that's negative. If you don't have anything to say that's positive, don't say anything at all.'

"But, he continues to insist, 'They're playing shitty.' I say, 'Dude, you don't understand: I'm going to fucking kill you if you say one more negative thing.'"

Years of losing have taken their toll on the Arizona psyche, Jacobson knows, but it's time people get over it.

"Nobody wants to pull for a team and then have the a-hole guy next to them say, 'Ha ha ha, told you!' Like [Cardinals quarterback Kurt] Warner, you have to believe. And the Cardinals fans don't believe. I mean, they just don't believe."

They may not know how. Cards fans don't seem to know what to do when they actually try their hand at hooliganism. Take the two bozos who, police say, tried to vandalize the Chandler front yard of Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb before the NFC Championship.

Rex Michael Perkins, 37, of Chandler, and Ryan Hanlon, 29, of Gilbert, were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage on January 18 after cops say they used diesel fuel to burn "Go Cards" and "Go Kurt" into McNabb's lawn. Police tracked them down when they found a cardboard sign at McNabb's house with a postage sticker bearing Perkins' address.

Leaving an address is an obvious rookie mistake, but what kind of pussy statement is "Go Kurt?" If you're going to harass McNabb, burn "Fuck Philly" and a big "81" (the number of McNabb enemy and former Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens) on the grass, then plop a "for sale" sign in the yard.

Boom, message sent. If you're going to risk arrest, make it count!

Last week, someone changed an electric road sign in Tempe to read "Go Steelers." Somebody had to see whoever did that in the act. Why wasn't the responsible party found beaten in a nearby alley? If a Cardinals fan pulled that stunt in Pittsburgh, you can bet he would be.

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16 comments
Kathy
Kathy

How sad that Phoenix's village idiot tried to instill some enthusiasm into the Cardinal's fan base by trashing the faithful of the GLOBAL Steeler Nation. If this writer is indicative of the Cardinal faithful, my advice to the super, class act of Whisenhunt & Company is...get out of there...quick!

heather
heather

"And they are. But even if they win this Super Bowl, they'd still have only half as many championships as the Green Bay Packers. They'd need three more rings to have as many as the Chicago Bears, two more to have as many as the Cleveland Browns, or one more to have as many as the New York Giants." Where do you get your facts from? They are totally wrong. I guess fairweather fans don't need to know what they are writing about.

Chris
Chris

Congrats to the Cards for making the Superbowl one of the best ever. It will be one talked about for a long time.

Now to the pressing issue.

Why would the editor of this paper even allow this to be published? Not only does it make the author look like a complete ass, but it also makes his boss look like an ass for publishing this garabge. Your city was on the verge of a blackout for two playoff games because your fans are better than us because you have money that us hillbillies do not. So you put us down for pretty much everything we stand for but what you really did is show the "STEELER NATION" what ignorance comes from by having money. I get it now. Rich people are better than us white trash losers who support are team 365 days a year NO MATTER WHAT!

I am okay with trash talking if it is in clean fun but you sir went WAY TOO FAR by putting down a man who has been a Steeler icon for years, who passed away last year may I remind you because of the way he talks. Myron Cope is one of the most respected individuals from this area who invented our "piss-colored towel" to generate money for Mentally Handicapped individuals, one of which is his son. But let me guess, being that your a poor excuse for a human being, you would find a reason to put down the handicapped as well because they live in hillbillie country. Go fuck yourself! I may not be swimming in money, but at least I know what it is like to struggle and survive and not be catered to hand and foot by a maid or butler. I find it more satisfying to actually work hard to get what I have. Western Pennsylvania is probably one of the hardest working group of individuals any where in the country. I am proud to be from Pittsburgh. There is no where like it in the world.

Hogan
Hogan

Sounds like someone is taking his ball and going home....boo f'n hoo jag

Hogan
Hogan

Sounds like someone is taking his ball and going home....boo f'n hoo jag

john morrow
john morrow

come on guys. we don't show this kind of disrespect for anyone. hey, did anyone see warner's interview before the game? HE HAD ON A BLACK SUIT WITH A WHITE SHIRT AND A GOLD TIE. even he's a ateeler fan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stu
Stu

Wow Sparky, did you swallow extra moron pills this morning? The best you got was that our mascot got arrested for a DUI? I guess he must have been out partying with the now unemployed former mascot of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Oh gosh, we're all rednecks and uneducated yokels from Appalachia. Did you have to look up where that was on a map and then use Spell Check? It's no wonder the Cardinals have no fans. The average age of Maricopa County is deceased, and the ones that aren't snuck in over the border. I just got back from Tampa, and wow do your supporters have a lot to learn about how to be fans. Whining and complaining that every call on their team means the refs must have been paid off, but if a call goes your way, then that time the refs "finally called one." Let's just say that there were quite a few Cards' fans(?) who fit the description you were trying to pin on Steeler nation. Drunken louts who were so inebriated by half time that they couldn't even see straight by the time the Cards managed to take the lead. Speaking of taking the lead, quite a few of the Cards' fans in our section need to take few etiquette lessons in how to act with a lead, or as they have nopw unfortunately learned, it ain't over until it's over.

Don't even get me started on the Ryan Clark hit on Willis McGahee. Clark led with his shoulder and McGahee lowered his helmet. McGahee, and the Ravens all acknowledge that it was a clean hit, but I guess you're more a of a fottball expert than they are.

Please feel free to continue believing that our area is populated by hicks and yokels, but I'm pretty sure the caliber of our educational institutions here leaves yours somewhere in the Mexican desert. I'll take Carnegie Mellon University and The University of Pittsburgh's Medical school over any institute of higher(?) learning you folks have in the Valley of the Sun.

You don't honestly believe that what you wrote about Steeler fans influencing officials at neutral site games, do you?

It's amazing how every member of the Steeler defense is a thug, but every member of the Cardinals is an upstanding member of the community who visits children's hospitals daily, work at the community food bank, and get folks to donate over 5,000 pints of blood because his son has Leukemia. Oh wait, my bad, that was Brett Keisel, Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith respectively.

In closing, you should probably go back to covering golf tournaments, NASCAR races and Suns' games. Your football team will most likely fall into the storied tradtion of one and done teams from the NFC lately. The one thing I do remember walking out of Raymond James on Sunday night was Steeler fans congratulating Cardinal fans on a game well played and they should be very proud of how far their team came this year, and the response of Go F*#K yourself from the Cardinal fans.

You stay classy Phoenix.

Marcus
Marcus

Weak and hateful article.

The hillbillies are celebrating the ONLY team in NFL history to record 6 Super Bowl wins!

Cameron
Cameron

You know as I was reading this article, I found my self getting angry. Then I realized that this article was coming out of a city that has no sense of what it is like to win. Winning is a good feeling and it is nice to root for a team that respects the city it represents. I am sorry that you guys do not know what it is like to win. It is a great feeling. The cards came out of a the worst division in football at 9-7. That is sad. The Steelers came out of the toughest schedule at 12-4. No brainier who is the best team. Hopefully we will play the cards next year and beat them again. Fitzgerald and Warner are the only good personalities on that team. Fitzgerald will go on to great things but not with that organization.

JOHNNY JONES
JOHNNY JONES

well say all you want, you boys lost to a better team

Cameron
Cameron

Obviously this writer has not been to Pittsburgh. But what does it matter. We have 6 Super Bowl Wins and the red birds have...oh what is it? Thats right 0!!!!!!! After the cards lose Warner this year, you guys will not even stiff the playoffs. Good Luck as we make our way to the big 7.

Maria
Maria

Give me a damn break! We are NOT trashy! Look at your own damn state-you have Terrible Towels flying high there. It's not our fault that your fans SUCK! We earned SIX Superbowl titles! WE HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO GLOAT, BRAG and WHATEVER ELSE! WE ARE A DINESTY! No other team has EVER done what we have done! 100 yard "Immaculate Interception" and who can forget the awesome Santonio Holmes catch? Just face it, your defense sucks! If we were playing Baltimore or Philly, we would've had a challenge. You didn't watch enough tapes and study hard enough-WE DID! We'd rather be loud, obnoxious, trashy fans than fair-weather fans who are sore losers!!!!! SIX-PACK YEAR BABY!!!!!! WELCOME TO SIXBURGH! YAY!!!!

Matt
Matt

The comment about the Steelers winning the AFC Championship because of Clark's hit on McGahee is ridiculous. Did you watch the game? First of all, I'm pretty sure Polamalu's interception return for a touchdown won the game, and until reading this article, I haven't heard one person say that Clark's hit was illegal or dirty...it was just a hard hit with his shoulder, not his head. I respect the run the Cardinals had, and the Super Bowl was a hell of a game, but it seems that the person writing the article about how poor the fan base is, might need to consider assessing his own understanding of the game.

Mathilda
Mathilda

Hillbilly? At least Steelers fans can afford to spend upwards of $1,000 on Super Bowl tickets. Unlike the poor Cardinals fans who obviously couldn't afford to make the trip for their team.

Tammie
Tammie

Most people who claim to "hate" the Steelers and their fans are simply JEALOUS of all that we have accomplished.

Calling us white trash is a bit harsh but fortunately, it runs off of our shoulders as we know better and we know that we ARE BETTER.

 
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