Short Two Sentence Preview: The Arizona Cardinals are a dysfunctional franchise without competent leadership in the front office and, naming it’s third head coach and third starting quarterback in three season, it’s clear that Mike Bidwill and Steve Keim are banking that a drunk broken clock with no hour hand and a display of Rare Birds of the Appalachians in lieu of numbers on the face can be right at least once in a while. Most likely scenario, Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray buy leadership three years of “they don’t win nothing but they’re fun to watch!” before the experiment of, what if we forced a quarterback to play for a coach he’s been rejecting for seven years as they both enter their NFL careers?, bears as many fruits as the Chip Kelly Funtime Experiment or Singletary On Coaching.
Long Preview: Outside of the profit-centric ideals of NFL ownership, the true motivation of Cardinals President (and, more importantly, owner’s son), Mike Bidwill, is delaying the need to perform an outside search for a new general manager. Put a pin in this because every football operations decision Mike Bidwill makes — and will make — is seemingly-arbitrary until viewed through this filter of reality.
I don’t regret having cheered for the Arizona Cardinals for a period. As an idealistic romantic, young blaxabbath scrounged up his graduation capital to attend the Cardinals first home playoff game in decades against the Falcons during Kurt Warner/Young Larry Fitzgerald Super Bowl runner-up season. I think I took my then-girlfriend, who is now some partner at a big law firm in Phoenix and married a guy who is way less attractive than me with whom she birthed a son that is way less attractive than blaxito. But that’s not the point.
Knowing what I know now, fuck the Arizona Cardinals, their ownership, their sponsors and other ‘partners’, and, especially, the local media that generates and spreads team-approved news. The Cardinals flagship, KTAR, is a LDS-owned Bonneville International (think Sinclair Broadcasting Lite) station that, from it’s “talk news” broadcasts to Arizona sports team coverage, is basically nothing more than a thinly-veiled propaganda outlet.
Now let’s put a pin in the fact that local news and sports-news is fiscally in bed with the Arizona Cardinals. And, that said, the best thing anyone can say about sixth-year GM Steve Keim is that his 2018 Extreme DUI was the result of *just* getting pulled over near his home during a July 4th weekend enforcement sweep. Guy didn’t kill anyone so, you know, just another administrative deep state attack on rich white men. Seriously, the below is from an Arizona Republic (Phoenix’s main newspaper) article about the arrest.
In the limited space to inform the public, the Republic finds it valuable to point out that, “Hey, Steve is no more of a multi-time DUI collector than you, good citizen. Stupid Arizona just doesn’t treat him with the privilege he deserves.” Oh, you all didn’t know Keim already had a DUI to his name? Funny, that must have not been as pertinent information as, say, the way a dead black kid’s blood may test hot for the marijuanas.
Keim’s DUI story is over a year old and it’s easily the most interesting non-Kliff Kingsbury news…that is, until just last weekend when Ron Minegar, chief operating officer and executive vice president of the Cardinals, was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of DUI.
I mean, are you serious? If nothing else, I don’t ever want to hear a fucking whisper of the word culture with this organization. Here is the “leadership” of the Arizona Cardinals.
But back to football, let me be perfectly clear here. Hiring Kliff Kingsbury and writing off the previous draft trades to move up for Josh Rosen to get Kyler Murray is not gutsy or innovative or anything other than foolish. You know how old sayings and proverbs always talk about The Fool? The Fool and his money. The Fool flaunts his folly. A game for The Fool. The Arizona Cardinals are The Fool. More specifically —
We all hate NFL owners but there is none who might hold a candle to The Fool himself, Mike Bidwill. Gifted his President job (and future ownership stake) by his grifter father, Bill Bidwill, Michael is still molding the second decade of his tenure since taking full control of the franchise’s football operations in 2007. Still riding the high of the inherited roster former General Manager Rod Graves constructed, Mike Bidwill shot to stardom with the owners for leading the threat to move the team if the state of Arizona did not build, what is now known as, State Farm Stadium and sitting in the skybox while Kurt Warner and a young WR pairing of Anquan Boldin and Larry FItzgerald took the team to a Super Bowl appearance.
Finding early success, Bidwill was a Elizabeth Holmes-esque star in the NFL executive world. Though conventional wisdom is that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Mike Bidwill was hailed as the exception. Sure his father, Bill, oversaw a laughingstock franchise for decades and this is where Mike learned the trade — but he was somehow different and bound to change the Cardinals fortunes. And 2009 was just the start.
I’ve mentioned it on threads around here but let me put the numbers right here — the further you get into Mike Bidwill’s tenure, the worse the organization trends.
As the table above shows, Bidwill walked into a very good thing with the Super Bowl appearance in year one. Still won the division in year two but let Ken Whisenhunt flail for three more season as Graves failed to replace Kurt Warner or hold together much of the nucleus of that 2009 team. At the end of 2012, both Whisenhunt and Graves were let go.
In 2013, Steve Keim was promoted to GM and the Cardinals were the last team to make an offer to a head coach. Bruce Arians, who should not have been left available after his COY season with the Colts (looking at you, the Bears), was the prize for their inability to pull the trigger and Arians rewarded them by immediately implementing his NFL-tested offense. Arians won 10 games the first season and delivered double-digit wins for three years — a first for the franchise — while Steve Keim was credited with signing many late-career vets to short team-friendly contracts. League blowhards credited these as Keim Time Signs when, in reality, most every veteran signee was quoted saying they were coming to play for Bruce Arians and not a peep was heard about the Cardinals organization as a whole.
After riding Carson Palmer until the wheels fell off and refusing to extend more personnel control to Arians, Bidwill decided that Steve Keim — who never secured a suitable replacement for Palmer nor assembled a legitimate offensive line — would handle the
rebuild reloading of the roster. Steve Wilks — a name I had to search because I’ve honestly forgotten it already — was hired to swing the pendulum away from the BA years because a coach with experience who is liked by players and wins games when his roster isn’t decimated with injuries never got them a Super Bowl title and that, these drunken idiots, say is their standard.
Go ahead and insert your own joke about ugly guys only going for 10’s at the bar here.
Wilks, as you can see above, did an absolutely horrendous job with a roster that was constructed to play absolutely horrendous football led by a staff that had absolutely horrendous credentials. So Bidwill took ownership and blamed himself for the failure. Wilks was fired and Bidwill, again, hoped to luck into success. This time, he did so by signing off on the hiring and drafting of Kingsbury and Murray behind the
shaky-with-withdrawals steady hand of Steve Keim.
All of this to say, there is no mold-breaking innovative leadership style of Kliff Kingsbury or dynamic skillset of Kyler Murray that can overcome the strongest trend in NFL history; namely, the inability of the Bidwills to operate a successful [on-field] NFL franchise. Flashes from the rookies in the first preseason game? Check. “Big plans” for David Johnson? Check. Couple things to clean up but excited by the toughness and competitiveness in this locker room? Check. This team isn’t special. They might sneak a couple wins against defensive coordinators who are just waking from a three year coma on gameday but this isn’t a team that is built to win; this is a team that is built to buy time.
Which brings me to my original point: the little sheen KTAR swears is on Mike Bidwill comes all the way off the day he has to perform an outside hire general manager search. Bidwill, a behind-the-scenes-hands-on owner, cannot land quality GM talent. Keim is his guy because Keim makes Bidwill feel good. They’re a couple incompetent buddies who “came up the ranks” together and now are taking a stab at fielding NFL teams. No quality general manager will operate in such a way. If a GM cannot build a team, a competent owner fires him. Mike Bidwill, a fatter poorer Jeffrey Epstein, says, “Fuck it. How about we hire a coach that has no business running an NFL team and give him the rookie quarterback he loves? Worst case scenario, we end up right back in the same spot that we’re in now, in 2022.”
So I won’t be watching the 2019 Arizona Cardinals. You won’t be watching the 2019 Arizona Cardinals. Vegas has their O/U at 5.5 but pays generous to the over so I’ll say four wins because I haven’t looked at the schedule but can’t imagine backup quarterback Brett Hundley won’t get some playing time and there will be a “quarterback controversy” when B-Hund runs the offense masterfully. Mostly though, I think Vance Joseph will be the most frustrated/sober guy in the building because I think he can actually do alright with the defensive personnel available (though we’ll see how well Patrick Peterson does without his PEDs when he returns from suspension).
Also, I expect Larry Fitzgerald to retire at the end of this season.