Darnell Dockett waves the towel proclaiming the Cardinals NFC West champions after Arizona beat St. Louis, 34-10, Sunday.
It was safe by then, after Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had raced 99 yards for a touchdown and the Cardinals had gone ahead by 24 points with three minutes left, so Darnell Dockett brought out the towel.
The message was simple, really, yet brought out a huge cheer as Dockett turned his back to the field and held it up to the crowd. "NFC West Champs" it
proclaimed, and yes, the Cardinals were finally that.
Hammering the Rams – by a 34-10 score – was what a playoff team should do. The journey took a little longer than anyone would have wanted. But to reach the goal at home, in front of former players on alumni weekend, in such an emphatic manner that the details didn't mean much.
Veteran defensive end Bertrand Berry – who took a massive pay cut to stay on the roster – was in tears when it was over. He and quarterback Kurt Warner embraced on the sidelines, not long after fullback Terrelle Smith and Dockett dumped a barrel of Gatorade on coach Ken Whisenhunt.
"I was excited to get a bath," Whisenhunt said. "That's one of the things, I guess as a coach, you dream about."
When the numbers are thrown around as much as they had been the past couple of weeks, from the last time the Cards won a division (1975) to the last time the team hosted a home playoff game (1947), the impact is hard to miss.
The players understood. Veterans like safety Adrian Wilson, the longest-tenured