Long-suffering Cards fans buzzing with enthusiasm

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Longtime Arizona Cardinals fans learned years ago to have low expectations; they've been let down so many times.

But now that their team has made it to the NFC championship game, Arizona fans are tingling with an unfamiliar sensation -- enthusiasm.

Team jerseys are selling out, sports bars have been packed for the playoffs and tickets to Sunday's game in Glendale against the Philadelphia Eagles sold out in six minutes.

Longtime Cardinals fan and season-ticket holder Jack Corson says he's so excited, he's having trouble sleeping.

Corson is the only fan allowed to hang a banner in University of Phoenix Stadium because of his longtime loyalty.

His giant banner depicts a cardinal's head in place of the star on the Arizona state flag, and each game displays a different message in yellow letters.

During Sunday's game, it will read "Shock the World" as the Cardinals try to soar past the Eagles into the Super Bowl.

Until the Cardinals (11-7) beat Charlotte 33-13 on Saturday, they were the only NFC franchise not to make it to the conference title game since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)