"It's been nothing but heartbreak, except for 1998, and then this season," said Kurtz, who works for an international education agency in Lancaster.
Deric Adger, 40, an insurance agent from Southwest Philadelphia, latched on to the team - mostly its logo at first - when he was 9 years old. No one joined him.
"I've never met another Cardinals fan in Philly. Ever," Adger said. "But I'll stand by the team every single year."
In 1992, he got the logo tattooed on his shoulder. When his son was born in 2001, Adger named him after former cornerback Aeneas Williams. Who else?
Going deep into the playoffs is like a strange, new drug for Cardinals fans, exhilarating and addicting. You get the sense that, in the back of their minds, they're slightly freaked out by the fact that the Super Bowl is only one game away.
"I'm confident, but I'm terrified, too," Adger said of Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Eagles. "I've come this far. I just don't want this season to be over."
Scott Dowling, a 34-year-old Philly native who now lives in Harrisburg, picked up the newspaper when he was 10 years old and decided to "pick a team that was not very good," so he wouldn't be accused of being a "bandwagon jumper." He selected the Cardinals. Mission accomplished.
An Arizona victory on Sunday will bring Dowling a quarter-century's worth of redemption, perhaps even silence the incessant heckling from his brother and father, both lifelong Eagles fans.
"I couldn't have scripted it any better than this. A chance to beat Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and me living in Harrisburg? Is there anything better than that?" Dowling asked. "Even if we don't win, it's been a hell of a ride."
Tim Yingling, 23, a bartender at La Terrasse in University City, will be rooting for Arizona, if only to see his former Valley Forge Military Academy classmate, Larry Fitzgerald, make it to the Super Bowl. Nobody deserves it more than the three-time Pro Bowl wideout, he said.
"He's a really humble guy," Yingling said. "Not a T.O. at all." *