For both teams, it was improbable to even make the postseason. It seemed like the Giants squandered their opportunity with five out of six losses and the Cardinals seemed to be way to far behind the Atlanta Braves to be in the NL Wild Card race. The Giants did control their own destiny coming in to the first Dallas Cowboys game, but needed a little help after they lost the following week against the Washington Redskins. For both teams, thanks to the Braves and Cowboys, a path was cleared for them to make the postseason.
But the biggest parallel between these two runs is how they both took advantage of the opportunities and played their best when it meant the most. The Giants played arguably their best game of the season against the Atlanta Falcons in the first weekend of the playoffs. The Cardinals, who were given no shot to beat the Philadelphia Phillies, hung in the series before Chris Carpenter carried the team to the game 5 victory. Then it was the Giants, who outside of the local supporters and fans, who were not expected to beat the 15-1 Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field. Many experts expected it to be a close game, but it was the Giants who not only won the game, but won it decisively.
Then it was the Cardinals who took advantage of pitcher Shawn Marcum imploding to outlast the Milwaukee Brewers to win the improbable NL Pennant. Of course, the Giants took advantage of two Kyle Williams fumbles to win themselves the NFC Championship.
Both teams also may have been inspired by two loudmouths. NY Jets coach Rex Ryan could not get himself to stop saying how this way the Jets town and they "owned the city". But how easy we forget how it was Brewers outfielder and fellow loudmouth @TheRealTPlush Nyger Morgan who stated how his team was going to the postseason and the Cardinals were not and how they should enjoy watching the playoffs. Cases can easily be made that the comments backfired on both as it did nothing but light a fire under the Giants and Cardinals. While the Giants ruined the Jets postseason chances by beating them in the regular season, the Cardinals outlasted the Brewers in an improbable matchup in the NLCS.
Finally, both teams were matched up against Championship caliber teams in the Texas Rangers and New England Patriots. The Rangers were making their second consecutive World Series appearance, while the Patriots, led by QB Tom Brady and Head Coach Bill Bellicheck, were making their fifth appearance in the last decade. The Giants, who needed a touchdown with 86 yards and less than four minutes to go, marched down the field and scored a touchdown with less than a minute to go to take the lead. Then had to stop a last minute drive by Brady to seal their forth Super Bowl Championship. The Cardinals were down 3 games to 2 to the Rangers and down to their last strike, in two consecutive innings, but managed to rally and win a dramatic game six, before taking game seven and winning their eleventh World Series.
Neither team was considered the favorite coming in to the season. Definitely not as the postseason began. But they both deserve their respective Championships as they managed to beat the best to be the best.