10 things to ponder about the Cardinals

Pick up the phone, Donovan. It's a long-distance call from Phoenix. It is the hotel near Glendale, Ariz.; they want to know if you would like a suite to aid you in your preparation for your fifth NFC Championship Game in 8 years.

Arizona? That's where the Eagles are heading? Here are 10 things to ponder about the Cardinals:

1One of the most futile franchises in pro sports, this is the first time the Cardinals have made it to the NFC Championship since the AFC/NFC merger in 1970. They are the last NFC team to do so. Even the Lions beat them there.

2Did you know that the Cardinals football club actually started in Racine, Wis.? They joined the NFL as the Chicago Cardinals in 1920 and moved to St. Louis in 1960 before ending up in Phoenix in 1987.

3Arizona has the second-best passing offense in the NFL. The Cardinals feature three 1,000-yard receivers this season: Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston.

4Under owner Leonard Tose, the Eagles almost moved to Phoenix in 1984. The Arizona Republic broke the story that the Eagles' brass took a trip to the desert to peruse the available office space. Tose needed the deal to wipe out his gambling debts in Atlantic City, but the outcry of the fans and City Hall kept the team in place.

5 The Cardinals have a deceiving ground game to go with their passing. Though their stats weren't impressive in the regular season, Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower made it tough on the Panthers' defense by combining for more than 100 yards on Saturday.

6Arizona is no stranger to the Super Bowl. Though the Cardinals never have played in a Super Bowl themselves, the Giants won the last Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cards' desert dome, located in suburban Glendale, opened in 2006.

737-year-old Kurt Warner has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes this year. He is 401-for-598. On Saturday, he threw for 220 yards.

8Saturday's game MVP was a toss-up between the Cardinals' defense and Fitzgerald. Their underrated and stingy defense led the NFL in takeaways this season with 39 and forced five more on Saturday at Carolina. Fitzgerald collected a touchdown to go with 166 yards. It was arguably the best performance of his 5-year career.

9Arizona was a twice yearly opponent of the Eagles until 2002. The Cards were in the NFC East from 1970-2001, spending more than 14 years in the division after their move from St. Louis. They only won two division titles (1974, 75) in those 31 seasons.

10This is the Cardinals' first winning record since their last playoff appearance in 1998. Prior to their upset in Atlanta 2 weeks ago, their biggest win might have been a faux: "Monday Night Football'' in "Jerry Maguire'' with Rod Tidwell doesn't count. *