Leading up to and after last night's incredibly entertaining tilt for all the marbles between the Steelers and Cardinals, I've read and heard quite a bit of analysis trying to spin the Cardinals' magic ride to the big game as some sort of blueprint and/or inspiration for your Houston Texans making a run of their own in the near future. Basically, the crux of the argument is simply this: Arizona was a bad team for a long time, yet they managed to cast off a seemingly omnipresent culture of awfulness, got hot, and showed anything can happen on any given Sunday in the NFL. Your Houston Texans, of course, have never posted a winning season. But they too can put that behind them and catapult themselves to glory in '09, 2010, etc., the comparison goes. In other words, if the Cardinals can do it, why can't the Texans?
I think that analysis oversimplifies and detracts from what the Cardinals did.
Arizona wasn't a few seconds (or bad calls, depending on what you believe) from a championship because of some magical realignment of the moons. They got where they did because of shrewd personnel decisions, good coaching, and the increasing parity of the NFL. In a league where it's a virtual certainty that there will be a team or two that goes from 6-10 to 10-6 from one season to the next, it doesn't come down to fate. Sure, there's some measure of luck involved, just like you could say is present in any sphere of life. But organizations succeed because they have good people in charge who manage the cap well and pursue players that fit their system. Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin & Co. are very good to great football players who were put in a position to maximize their talents. That, and not some mythical reversal of the NFL's poles, was why the Cardinals nearly shocked the world last night.
Applying that theory to your Houston Texans, there is certainly reason for optimism. Look at the current roster. Look at Smithiak's draft history since 2006. That's why we should be excited about the team's future. Not because if-the-Cardinals-can-do-it-anyone-can-do-it-and-hey-we're-anyone. If your Houston Texans win the Super Bowl in 2009, it's not going to be because Arizona struck some sort of nebulous blow for losers everywhere. Saying otherwise diminishes the achievement.