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Sunday, February 1, 2009
Around the NFC West: Losers no longer


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals have finally shed the loser label.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals players credit coach Ken Whisenhunt for turning around the team.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals fans will never forget Super Sunday.

Also from Bickley: A look at Super Bowl safeties Adrian Wilson and Troy Polamalu.

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic lists the reasons she thinks Kurt Warner should return to the Cardinals next season.

Also from Boivin: A look at the 1947 championship Cardinals. They won a title after ownership lavished a four-year, $100,000 contract upon Charley Trippi.

Mark Faller of the Arizona Republic looks back at the Cardinals' colorful past. A disputed 1925 championship still doesn't sit well with some in Pennsylvania.

Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune checks in with Gabe Watson for a humorous look at the best and worst inside the Cardinals' locker room.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee sees "echoes" of Norv Turner in the 49ers' recent offensive hires. Barrows on new quarterbacks coach Michael Johnson: "The first thing that jumps out: He was dismissed as receivers coach by the Ravens in 2008 and replaced by ... wait for it, wait for it ... Jim Hostler, who began his 49ers' tenure as QBs coach. He comes recommended by two men Mike Singletary has worked for, Brian Billick and Norv Turner. He's a former quarterback who I'm told relates well to his pupils. And, of course, he mentored Michael Vick for three seasons in Atlanta. Now whether he was successful in that venture ... that's a judgment call."

Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury News says the buzz around the 49ers vanished during the month-long search for an offensive coordinator, particularly after the team hired Raye.

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News explains how he thinks the 49ers and Raiders could learn from the Cardinals and Steelers.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says Cortez Kennedy' turn for Hall of Fame induction will have to wait for another year. Farnsworth: "As one member of the selection committee commented after Kennedy's presentation was made, it would be a 'crime, ridiculous and crazy' to not think that Kennedy belongs in the Hall of Fame."

VanRam of Turf Show Times sizes up the Rams' unrealized potential. In mentioning Alex Barron, Joe Klopfenstein, Tye Hill and others, he cites a 1972 book passage from Don Shula: "A lot of coaches have a tendency stay too long with people with potential. We call them coach killers. As soon as you find out who the coach killers are on your team, the better off you are. You go with the guys who may have lesser talent, but more dedication, more singleness of purpose. You spot them and stick with them because in a big game, they'll win it for you."