Pro Football Teams


Arizona Cardinals:

Hoping to find an oasis in the desert

The Arizona Cardinals aren’t exactly the quintessential winning franchise like other National Football League teams might be. The Cardinals have an all-time winning percentage of .419. It only seems to have gotten worse in recent years. Since 1986 the team has finished with a record above .500 only once, have won no divisional titles and have only earned one postseason appearance. During the ’98 season the Cards rode the strong arm of Jake Plummer to a 9-7 record and their first postseason appearance in 16 years. The first round matched them up against the NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium. The Cardinals went on to handily win the game 20-7 stunning the Cowboys and their hometown fans. In the second round the Cardinals were clearly overmatched by the Minnesota Vikings and lost the contest 21-41.

Last season was another typical losing Cardinal season, short and without much success. The team finished with a 4-12 record and not even the great Emmitt Smith could help the team get onto the right track. There were some bright moments in the season despite the fact that they only won four games. In the final game of the season Arizona matched up against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings needed to win the game against the lowly Cardinals to get into the playoffs making the game more dramatic than most people would think. The Vikings found themselves trying to hang on to a 13 apint lead with 6:48 left in the game. The Cardinals scored a touchdown on a desperation throw from Josh McCown to Steve Bush with 1:54 left in the game. The Cardinals recovered an onside kick and after a pass interference call they found themselves within striking distance of the end zone. With the final seconds ticking off the clock Josh McCown rolled right and hooked up with wide receiver Nate Poole who caught the ball in the end zone while falling out of bounds. After the referee’s reviewed the play they ruled it was in fact a touchdown. Vikings players were stunned so that some were just lying in the field not wanting to get up.

In the off-season the Cards knew they needed to make some big changes and they did make one huge change. They fired coach Jeff McGinnis and brought in Dennis Green. Green was one of the central reasons that the Vikings are still a very good team despite not having much of a defense. They didn’t make any big moves as far as personnel goes, a few back-ups were brought in to help out their depth at some positions.

The draft is where the Cardinals off-season starts to get exciting. The team had a great deal of gaping holes in its team so it went with the goal of getting the most talented players and building around them. With the number three pick in the draft they got Pittsburgh wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald who had a close relationship with Dennis Green while coach Green was in Minnesota. Fitzgerald’s father is a sports radio personality in Minneapolis and introduced his son to the then Vikings coach. Fitzgerald was made a ball boy and would go through the same drills that Randy Moss and Chris Carter would go through. It wasn’t surprising to see Green or any of the other players out at Fitzgerald’s high school football games. With their second round pick the Cards snatched up Auburn outside linebacker Karlos Dansby who is a freak of nature. He played safety at Auburn before being moved to linebacker. He is a 250 lb. outside linebacker that can run a 4.56 40-yard dash and has a 32.5” vertical.

Next year the Cardinals’ offense won’t look quite as unpleasant as they did in 2003. The cards are looking to avoid last seasons pitfalls and to be more of a hit with the hometown fans, trying to avoid last season's dismal Cardinals ticket sales. Josh McCown is an up and coming quarterback with a great deal of talent and shouldn’t have any problems getting the ball up to his three stud receivers Anquan Boldin, Bryant Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald.
The Arizona defense hopes to keep teams scoreboards as barren as the desert that they play in. They finished 24th overall in total defense last year and should be improving due to the new coaching staff and rookies that will step in and play this season.


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