TAMPA, Fla. – Arizona offensive coordinator Todd Haley is known for his fiery temperament, and as a former scout with the New York Jets, he remembers clashing with Bill Parcells, the head coach.
One year, Haley loved a receiver from San Angelo (Texas) State named Chris Brazzell and was trying to convince Parcells to draft him.
“Bill wanted nothing to do with him,” Haley said. “It got to the point where he was doing a lot more shouting than I was, but we ended up taking Brazzell in the (sixth) round.”
Brazzell lasted a short time and then went on to the Canadian Football League, Haley said.
“I thought I was getting fired after, but I think coach appreciated that I stood up for what I believed in,” he said.
Keeping it fresh
The Cardinals implemented most of their game plan last week in Tempe, but coach Ken Whisenhunt intentionally held some of it back for this week.
“The biggest thing about this week is not allowing things to get stale,” he said. “If you put everything in last week, it makes this game seem like it takes longer to get here than it does.”
Don’t say the word
Defensive end/outside linebacker Bertrand Berry returned to the Cardinals this year after taking a $3 million pay cut. Berry, in his 11th season, turns 34 in August and would like to continue playing.
“I have no intentions of the ‘r’ word,” he said, referring to retirement. “I can’t even say that word. I really feel like I am just getting started. This is the second wind of my career.”
Thinking of Mom
Larry Fitzgerald’s mother, Carol, passed away in 2003 after a long battle with cancer, and the Cardinals receiver knows she would be pleased with her son’s trip to the Super Bowl.
“I think she would be very proud,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s a trip that she always made with my father every year. I know she would probably take the tickets that I would have given her and sold them and gone up to the mall to go shopping and get her a couple of nice outfits.
“She would be looking sharp and I’m just sad she wasn’t able to experience this.”
Turnovers the key
Both teams agree that the winner of the turnover battle Sunday likely will emerge as the Super Bowl champion.
The Cardinals’ defensive players said they will be making it a point to strip the football and to deliver the hardest hits, hoping to cause a fumble or an interception.
“We’re going to be ball hogs,” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said.
Even one turnover can change things, defensive end/linebacker Travis LaBoy said.
“Anytime you get turnovers in a game, it’s huge,” he said. “You get the momentum swing, you get the offense back on the field, and usually you get some good field position out of it.
“Especially in a game like this where you’ve got one of the top 10 defenses maybe in the history of football with the Steelers, you’ve got to get the ball back to our offense and get them as many opportunities to put points up as possible.”