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Larry Fitzgerald still helps spike Cardinals' emotions

It's about more than just a spike.

The spike was more for Larry Fitzgerald himself, really, whether because of his son leaving him hanging (and with two sons myself, Fitz, don't take it personally because it happens) or because it was simply emotional vomit that had built up out of the frustration of the first seven games of the season. And make no mistake, the Cardinals needed Josh Rosen down the stretch to make plays, for Christian Kirk to step up, and the defense had to hold. But what Fitz provides when he is producing in clutch situations, the vibe that is created when the State Farm Stadium crowd erupts, the intangible that feels tangible -- that's about way more than the simple act of a spike or Fitz's primal scream to the heavens after he makes a crucial play.

"You could really feel the energy in the stadium," coach Steve Wilks said. "Again, Larry is phenomenal. I thought Josh made some dynamic throws down the stretch, but also Larry came up with some big catches. (49ers CB Richard) Sherman was all over him on that one. That's who he is, a first-ballot Hall of Famer."

I have written this before, but this version of Fitz took a few years to develop. He always tosses the ball to officials after scoring touchdowns -- which he still does, and he actually apologized (albeit the tongue might have moved to cheek) for setting a bad example on his spike -- and played it pretty cool for a number of years even after big plays.

But it shifted. I don't know if it was because Fitzgerald changed, or if he simply figured out that the team and crowd would feed off it. But there are some goosebump-inducing moments when Fitzgerald makes a big play, he goes a little crazy, and his team and his crowd follow suit.



"I was joining in on the chant," tackle D.J. Humphries said. "I am one of the biggest Larry Fitzgerald fans in the locker room. I feel like they need to change the Hall of Fame rules for him so that whenever he decides… I hope he never decides he doesn't want to play anymore, whenever he decides he doesn't want to be a Cardinal anymore, they can go ahead and give him that jacket. They can fit him now so as soon as he's finished, whatever he wants to do, he can just put it on. He needs a full suit though. He don't need just the jacket, he needs a whole gold suit."

"Every time I hear a Larry chant I'm in on it. That's my boy but I'm a fan, straight up."

The Cardinals will be missing experience, intelligence and -- still -- the best hands in the business whenever Fitz decides to retire. But they will also be missing an underrated emotional aspect, a hidden nitrous oxide boost when the team needs it most. With or without the spike chaser.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald spikes the ball for the first time in his career Sunday against the 49ers.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald spikes the ball for the first time in his career Sunday against the 49ers.