Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Neeley’s Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders - NFC Championship Game Diary 

Posted by James at 11:00 AM ET

Arizona Cardinal Cheerleader Neeley was kind enough to share her thoughts from Sunday's Eagles-Cardinals game.
I remember the pride of dancing on to the football field at our new “nest” at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ.

This game was different.

I remember the roar of 103,000 fans in Mexico City at the first NFL game south of the border.

This game was different.

I remember the patriotism & camaraderie I felt watching Super Bowl XLII with 500 Army troops overseas in Japan last year.

Yesterday’s NFC Championship game, Arizona Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Eagles, was different.

Rally on the great lawn. Photos courtesy of azcardinals.com

Out of my 3 seasons as an Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader, I will remember the confetti, the swell of the red sea, and most of all, I will remember the confidence that makes this 2008 team different.

I have to admit, growing up the Cardinals weren’t my team. I didn’t really have just one team. I had a passion for playing sports - all of them. I traded my cleats for poms in college. The thrill of victory, defeat & the character sport builds is centuries old and it’s worth cheering for. For me, cheerleading is an outlet to encourage others striving to surpass all expectations. This 2008 Arizona Cardinals team is full of heart. You’ll read all about the stellar players & coaching staff in the media, but it’s the women high-kicking on the sidelines that have truly made this program special for me.

CardinalsAs cheerleaders, we don’t make spectacular catches in the end zone. We don’t sack the quarter back or make game-changing interceptions. But we believe. We encourage others to believe. We bring the “fever” to the fans – and yesterday, I felt that energy & excitement culminate in a championship season that is going down in history. If I encouraged just 1 fan in the stands to wave their rally towel & believe, I did my job. And best of all, I did it with some of my best friends by my side. Our strong sisterhood this season was built by one simple belief: Yes We Can.

Arizona Cardinals games have always been full of pride, face paint, rowdy fans, sideline media, and exciting football – but this time, the cheerleaders & the team alike took the field with a confidence that the National Football League has never seen before – and man, it felt good! Even before the kick-off, not a word was spoken in the locker room about the great Tampa Bay Super Bowl story that could unfold if the Cardinals pulled it off – that’s the thing, they didn’t just pull it off. We did it together. It was never a question – just a statement. The Cardinals are here.

Congratulations, Arizona Cardinals, on your first trip to the Super Bowl! We do this together!

Now, off to Tampa to shock the world…

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