Over the last couple of weeks in this NFL season, we’ve seen instances of multiple fan bases lashing out at their teams, expressing their frustration with inept franchises and the way they’re operated. Add Arizona Cardinals fans to that list of those who have had enough and think it’s time for a change. The Cards’ faithful wasted little time in calling for the job of head coach Kliff Kingsbury following Monday night’s Wild Card ass-whooping handed out by the LA Rams. In fact, they didn’t actually wait until the clock expired in the fourth quarter to go in on Kingsbury for his team being utterly unprepared for this game.
This is nothing new concerning Kingsbury and his status as Cardinals head coach. He’s three years into his tenure in Arizona, and it seems there’s been a faction of folk, whether fan or pundit, that have wondered aloud why Kliff was hired to begin with. But when you look at what his teams have (or haven’t) done, the argument for running him out of town isn’t entirely absurd. Kingsbury’s Cardinals are 24-24-1 in three regular seasons under his guidance. They just got smoked by the Rams in their first playoff game under Kliff, 34-11.
After a surprising 7-0 start to the year, Arizona fell off considerably, finishing up the season 4-7, including the playoff loss. Last season, Kingsbury’s men got off to a 5-2 start before losing six of their final nine games during the second half of the year. These late-season collapses are becoming a bad trend for this Cardinals team. But I doubt this will be the final nail in Kingbury’s coaching coffin with the Cardinals. Coaches of Kingsbury’s ilk usually get the benefit of the doubt and at least another year to prove themselves worthy of hanging around. Let’s keep it real.
Does anybody remember Jim Caldwell? Former head coach of the Lions and Colts before that. Caldwell’s teams posted a 36-28 record during his four years in Detroit. Caldwell posted winning seasons in three of his four years there. He led the Lions to the playoffs twice and was fired after a 9-7 year with no plausible explanation why other than Lions’ ownership could. That and the organization wanted to “take the next step forward.” Since Caldwell was let go after the 2017 season, Detroit’s seen two head coaches that have combined for a grand total of 17 wins in four years. How’s that next step working out for you, Detroit?
I only use Caldwell to compare the difference in opportunities extending for coaches that favor Kingsbury in opposition to those who share some of the same qualities as coach Caldwell. We know what that’s all about, and I think it applies here because I’d be shocked if Kingsbury got the axe after the season the Cardinals had, and he’s a white coach in the NFL. These owners have made it very clear who they want running their franchises 9.75 times out of 10.
Clearly, an argument can be made on either side for Kingsbury staying or going. To his credit, the team has improved under him each year he’s been in Arizona. Although they got their asses handed to them, he did get them to the postseason for the first time. Kyler Murray had an up and down year, but there has been some growth from rookie year to now for the former No. 1 overall pick. We should know more in the next couple of days, but for those in the fire Kingsbury camp, I wouldn’t wager anything serious about him being ousted at this point. Some of these coaches must have been cats in another life with all these extra chances they receive.