TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -Home cooking for the Arizona Cardinals used to be literally baking in triple-digit heat rising from the metal bleachers of mostly-empty Sun Devil Stadium.
``I played there a lot of times,'' Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips recalled on Wednesday. ``I remember way back when I was with Denver, shoot, the whole crowd was a Denver crowd, and there wasn't a big crowd.''
My, how things have finally changed.
Entering their third season in a raucous - and air conditioned - home of their own, the Cardinals finally have a true home-field advantage and the record to prove it.
Arizona is 8-2 at University of Phoenix Stadium since Ken Whisenhunt took over as coach in 2007 and is riding a five-game winning streak there. In their two home victories this season - over Miami and Buffalo - the Cardinals have outscored their opponents 72-27, including a 41-17 win over the previously unbeaten Bills on Sunday.
starting to get a sense of that as well,'' Whisenhunt said. ``I compliment them on how they've been for us. At times it's as loud as many of the louder stadiums that I've been in.''
If Arizona can win a few away from home, the team could be in great shape down the stretch. Now 3-2 alone atop the NFC West, three of its last four and four of its last six games are at home.
The Cardinals have sold out all 18 regular-season games since moving into the 64,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof in the west Phoenix suburb of Glendale. In previous years in 72,000-seat Sun Devil Stadium, on the campus of Arizona State University, sellouts were extremely rare, usually occurring when the Cowboys came to town.
The three largest crowds for the Cardinals, and six of their biggest nine, came in their old stadium against Dallas.
Which brings up this weekend, when the Cowboys return to the desert. Just as they did a year ago when the Pittsburgh Steelers visited, many Arizona fans are expected to sell their tickets.
``I think it stinks,'' Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner said. ``It's always hard to tell somebody not to sell something when they can make money off of it, but we just want our advantage. I think we've fought hard for that.''
ough, want their fans to be using their heart.
``I think our fans have done a tremendous job of sticking with us and now developing something,'' Warner said. ``I just hope it gets to the point where it doesn't matter who comes into this building.''
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