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Why Your Team Sucks 2017: Arizona Cardinals

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Some people are fans of the Arizona Cardinals. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Arizona Cardinals. This 2017 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.

Your team: Arizona Cardinals.


Your 2016 record: 7-8-1. Perhaps you remember this team helping push the Jimmy Garoppolo hype train out of the station in Week 1, or the extremely predictable sixth career nosedive of Carson Palmer, or David Johnson nearly getting his knee detonated in the final game, or the sudden and baffling implosion of this team’s fabled receiving corps, with Michael Floyd getting an ugly DUI and J.J. Nelson dropping every pass and John Brown apparently running off a cliff face.

But come on now. You’re not here for any of that shit. You’re here to relive the worst game in NFL history, a game in which the Cardinals special teams dragged America to hell:

See now, those are the Arizona Cardinals I know and love. Draft all the speedy wideouts you like, Cardinals. At your core, you’re still the same franchise that used to crash in Sun Devil Stadium and provide the Dallas Cowboys a ninth home game every season. You can’t fool me.


Your coach: Bruce Arians, whose lack of chill will never not take me by surprise. Last year alone, Arians had to deal with chest pains and diverticulitis in his rectum. Lemme tell you something: when the job of coaching afflicts your heart and your asshole simultaneously, you should probably quit while you’re ahead and maybe lay off the paint smoothies. It’s not like the job gets MORE relaxing as you go. Arians is currently growing a short beard around the rest of his long goatee. It looks weird. He’s not a jolly man anymore.

Your quarterback: Still Carson Palmer! Thought you might draft a hotshot college kid to take his place, did you? NOPE. No, it’s another year of seeing whether Palmer will get hurt or if he’ll simply turn the ball over 67 times. Here’s a guy who already plays 36 holes of golf a day during the offseason. Why, it’s as if he’s retired already! GOODY.

“I love going to bed the night before thinking about the holes where I’ll hit driver or not, seeing all the guys at the course early in the morning, the never-ending challenge of playing, having a beer afterward and hopefully collecting a bit of money, too. It’s all just so much fun.”


Now there’s a man who sound ready for some FOOTBAW! You’ll be in good hands when his knee buckles in eight different places in Week 4. Also lurking on the roster…

Illustration for article titled Why Your Team Sucks 2017: Arizona Cardinalsem/em

YOOOOOOOOOOO GABBERT GABBERT! When Blaine Gabbert is on your roster, you go 3-13. Even if he doesn’t play a snap, you go 3-13. It’s a law of the universe.

What’s new that sucks: Nothing! Karlos Dansby is back for a retirement parade and that’s about it. Floyd was cut and then won a ring. The line is decimated. Calais Campbell is gone, along with most of the secondary depth. The Honey Badger will get hurt again. You’re in for yet another year of retirees and failed Angelenos sucking down yard bongs in a glorified outlet mall and cheering for a team that will run out of gas by midseason.


What has always sucked: If it weren’t for California, Arizona would never have been made a state. It’s true. James Polk forced his armies westward to go claim California, and half his soldiers thought they had crossed over to the Netherworld while marching through Arizona and New Mexico. But they finally made it to the Promised Land and kept Arizona simply because they needed the through-route. So there you have it: Arizona: It’s In The Way.

This is a place that should not be. No one is actually supposed to LIVE here. Anyone who does is a fucking idiot. How badly do you have to hate minorities to stay in Arizona when California is RIGHT THERE? Look at the shit that lives here:


No thank you. What has Arizona ever given America? Tent prisons? Double-headed scorpions? Late-stage melanoma? Janet Leigh dead in a hotel shower? Senators who only pretend to be rebellious? Forty BILLION guns? Copper mines (Copper: The Fourth Place Metal)? Cacti? Longtime commenter ClueHeywood annually makes the point that every broadcast network uses shots of cacti for every Cardinals game B-roll:


So THAT’S what’s up Arians’s butt. Anyway, look at the big boring plant, everyone! It’s like I’m dying of dehydration just by looking at it! People in Sedona sit on rocks at night hoping aliens will take them away. This is actually a fair way of coping with being in Arizona, but still. This state is nothing more than a gigantic drain on our water supply. We should cut them off and put Immortan Joe in charge. It is the 6-6 tie of states. The only reason to visit Arizona is because of Grand Canyon and its citizenry had nothing to do with that. I can think of nothing more appropriate to that state than being famous for a giant hole.

Sheriff Joe is a Nazi asshole and I hope he dies in one of his own sauna prisons.


Did you know? They roll the grass in on a tray? Seriously, enough about the grass tray. Literally every game, I gotta hear about how they grow the stadium grass outside the stadium and then roll it in. OOOOOOH FANCY. How about instead of that, we don’t put an NFL franchise on the surface of fucking Mercury?

What might not suck: David Johnson is gonna try to combine for 2,000 yards from scrimmage for the second straight year, which means that his weekly DFS price will be… oh, let’s call it $20,000. He and Antonio Brown are always so damn expensive.




Arizona is an overgrown retirement community with a few decent people trapped in the middle of it.

Our football team is a perfect fit.


I know it didn’t get great reviews, but I enjoyed the Netflix Brad Pitt movie “War Machine.” Based off the late Michael Hastings’ fantastic book “The Operators,” it’s all about the fallacy of the Great Man theory of warfare. Every hyped-up overachiever always thinks that the only reason there are problems in the world is because they haven’t personally been assigned to fix them yet. Like General Stanley McCrystal in Afghanistan, they come in, nostrils flaring, boots stomping, snorting and blaring around, convinced they’ve got all the answers. For a while, this can work. Problems like Afghanistan — or the similar quagmire of trying to sustain success with an NFL team — are so bogged down and intractable that at first, the big swinging dick seems like as good a strategy as any. Sure, this guy is all knees, elbows and teeth, but shit, it can’t get WORSE, can it?

But it always gets worse, and, in McCrystal’s case, it got worse because he got so far up his own ass than he began to believe his mere presence, the fact that he was A Great Man, could stand in the place of actual policy. He was feared, then mocked, then ignored, then ultimately fired. The minute the bubbled popped — the minute it became clear this Great Man had no magic formula, that he was just a dope like the rest of us — it was over quickly. The bluster turned out to be all he had. In his place came another blowhard who was gonna fix everything. It’s still all broken.

We have reached the post-hype phase of Great Man Bruce Arians, and I’m afraid it’s going to be a long, quick fall. Arians was all we’d been waiting for as Arizona Cardinals fans. He was brash, he was loud, he was tough, he refused to let his players stretch (OK, so that part was a little weird), he seemed to care about nothing but winning and also maybe his hats. In his first season, he took a team that had gone 5-11 with Ryan Lindley, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb and Brian Hoyer the year before and won 10 games for a franchise that had only done that once in the previous 36 years. Then he went out and won 11 the next year, and 13 the year after that, before Carson Palmer completely forgot how to play football in the playoffs, falling one game short of the Super Bowl.

Heading into last season, the Cardinals were a Super Bowl favorite and a model organization for the league. And you saw Arians’ public profile rise even further, from a starring, profanity-riddled role in the otherwise dull Amazon documentary “All or Nothing” to an autobiography/airport self-help book that came out this summer called “The Quarterback Whisperer.” Tellingly, Arians, ever the aw-shucks self-mythologizer, said that he wasn’t worried about the book “giving anything away.” “I don’t think the game’s that hard.”

But last year, last year the bubble burst. Not only did Arians have his first losing season in Arizona — with a team that was supposedly bubbling over with two-deep talent at every position — but the Cardinals had all the hallmarks of a team that, well, was poorly coached. They averaged nearly two turnovers a game. Their special teams were a nightmare from Week One — a missed field goal to lose on national television to the Patriots — to a disastrous blocked extra point returned for a safety that cost them a game against Miami in December. They were 2-5-1 in games decided by one score. The team kept being undone by stupid mistakes late, the sort of mistakes that Arians, the whisperer, the Kangol-hat-sporting Great Man, vowed wouldn’t happen. It looked like a Ken Whisenhunt team last year; it looked like a Dave McGinnis team.

Suddenly, the team that had the future all to itself now, in the span of one year, looks old and desperate. Arians is counting on 37-year-old Carson Palmer — who has been fine in Arizona but was almost out of the league five years ago — and Larry Fitzgerald having one last rodeo, as if this is a team that has won multiple championships trying to squeeze one more out rather than a bunch of old guys who missed their best chance. He’s got a gift in David Johnson ... a player, by the way, whom it took the coaching staff two years to realize what they had in him. The defense was exposed as thin, and essentially lost when Tyrann Mathieu wasn’t 100 percent healthy, which was essentially never. Looking back, Arizona’s success looks less like Arians’ genius and more good fortune, good kismet and a quarterback having a late-career resurgence before it all went away.

It’s all about to disappear. The Cardinals didn’t draft a quarterback for The Whisperer to work with, which means it’s all Carson Palmer one last time, though there’s no way Blaine Gabbert isn’t starting at least one game for this team this year. The Cardinals are an old team that isn’t close to the Seahawks and will only impersonate a playoff contender because the 49ers and Rams are so bad. The supposed organization of the future now has one last year at the end of history, pouring everything into this year before they fall off a cliff after Palmer and Fitzgerald retire after this season. Arians and the Cardinals brass were geniuses a year ago ... until their plan turned out not to be so impeccable and revolutionary as everybody, most of all themselves, thought.

The jig is up. This is a league in which coaches last four years before fans are sick of them, before they’re churned out and moved on from. Arians sold us, sold everyone, that he was different. But he’s just a regular guy, a little smarter than your average coach, but nothing special, and certainly not the Great Man he needed us to believe. When you convince yourself you are invincible, that Only You Can Fix It, you can fool some people, particularly the most needy, desperate, for a short while. But eventually the bill comes due. Palmer and Fitzgerald will be gone after this year. Considering his health issues, Arians may be gone as well. He’ll be replaced by another guy who’s all knees, elbows and teeth, telling us he’s got a plan that will blow us away, that we’ll win so much we’ll get sick of it. But it’ll still all be broken. I believed in Arians. We all did. That’s our fault, not his. Not that that’ll save him, or us.



It is pure insanity to let Palmer ruin Larry Fitzgerald’s twilight years.


I’m a transplant from California to Phoenix (MASSIVE shocker there). Phoenix gets a bad rap as a city in general, it really is a cool city in certain parts and the cost of living rules, but absolutely no one gives a single flying fuck about the Arizona Cardinals. I have met more Bears/Packers/Lions fans living here in Phoenix than Cardinals fans and it’s not even close. They play in the middle of the most artificial, corporate, sterilized “restaurant district” imaginable, but all of the snowbirding Midwesterners are more than happy to take the place over and outnumber the home fans 3 to 1. Save for the few toothless holdouts out in Apache Junction (meth capital of the world!), I cannot overstate how much of a nothing the Cardinals are to people here. If it weren’t for Midwestern opponents visiting, they could play in the local minor league soccer team’s stadium and have seats left over.



Being a Cardinals fan means getting the worst gameday experience in the NFL eight times a year. What part of your gameday experience is the worst? Is it sitting in two-plus hours of gridlock traffic to get to the stadium because no one but meth addicts and California rejects want to live in Glendale, AZ, aka America’s Neck Tattoo?

Or maybe it’s tailgating in 100+ degree heat, realizing that most Cardinals fans think a quick burst of Axe body spray counts as a shower?

How about watching Carson Palmer go to a silent count in his own fucking stadium because the opposing fans have outnumbered you again in your “home” field?

No, the worst part of every game, though, is our ridiculous chant. Oh, that fucking chant.

Years of watching Cardinals home games means I know the chant or fight song of every other team in the NFL after hearing it shouted by all the visiting fans, while us Cardinals fans fuck up our stupid “Rise up red sea” chant every week. I like to think most of us are embarrassed by it and that’s why it’s chanted so half-heartedly, but I know it’s just the result of all these sunburned dickheads being unable to string four words together that aren’t “Make America Great Again.”

Who deliberately names their fan base the “Red Sea”? None other than our CTE-addled color commentator Ron “Rape His Face” Wolfley. Was he inspired by the way our defense parts like the Red Sea whenever there’s a crucial 3-and-short? Or the way our O-Line parts like the Red Sea every time Carson Palmer drops back to pass? Maybe the way our season ticket holders part ways to let in all the transplants there to see their hometown team? Whatever his inspiration, fuck him every idiotic catchphrase he pulls out of his bloated ass.

Fuck Michael Floyd, fuck Daryl Washington, fuck Drew Butler, and fuck me for sticking with this football team.



They did this thing on the NFL network with Larry Fitzgerald where they asked him if he could name every quarterback he caught a touchdown pass from, and it led to one of the most depressing lists of quarterbacks you’ll see outside of Cleveland. Carson Palmer is literally the second best quarterback I’ve ever rooted for, and he’s had more massively traumatic knee injuries (at least 2) than playoff wins (1) in his career.

Illustration for article titled Why Your Team Sucks 2017: Arizona Cardinalsem/em


Our coach is an admitted paint-drinker that wears a Kangol hat and tries to talk like a guy from Tuscaloosa. (Example: “Do not park yo car in dat spot. Cuz I’ll fucking tow a bitch”). Fuck Bruce Arians and his stupid hat.

Our options at QB are the shattered remains of Carson Palmer’s knee and Drew Stanton. The Cardinals would rather employ a backup that couldn’t score 50 points in that football-toss game at Dave and Busters than Colin Kaepernick. Likely because the white, shaved-head, goateed, Oakley-wearing fanbase would freak the fuck out and fly a second U.S. flag from their lifted pickups in the parking lot while bitching about him. The Deep South gets all the pub for being racist, but trust me, don’t sleep on Arizona.

Ron fucking Wolfley. He once almost punched his radio co-host when they argued about a team that wasn’t even the Cardinals. He sounds like a dumber, more-unhinged version Randy Macho Man Savage.

I question Larry Fitzgerald’s intelligence for having bloodhound-levels of loyalty to an organization that keeps trotting out QBs that wouldn’t be the top pick in an intramural flag football league at Scottsdale Community College. But goddamnit, he’s a joy to watch when Palmer and Stanton aren’t actively overthrowing him and trying to get him murdered.

David Johnson is stellar, which means Arians will find a way to involve him in 95 percent of the offensive snaps, he’ll be on crutches by Week 6, and his career will be over in two years.

Fuck Arians and fuck the Bidwill family.


My fucking god how in god’s name does this team have the temerity to fuck with the few fans they have left?

I hope Santonio Holmes gets fucked with a wire brush.


As an Arizona Cardinals fan living in southeast Kentucky, I don’t often get to see the team play in person. Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Indianapolis are the only teams within a reasonable driving distance for a day trip. That means I can see my team play roughly once every 4 years. This is one of those years, as the Cards play the Colts on the Sunday before my birthday.

Unfortunately, my wife hates football. I’ve been trying to badger her into going to the game with me since A) it’s my birthday (and I got her GNR tickets to Cincinnati for her birthday last year) and B) we always have fun on road trips. She keeps turning me down, whining that football sucks. I told her all she had to do was sit in her seat and drink booze while she played on her phone for three hours, if she so desired. Still no luck. As fate would have it, she recently found out that Nelly (yes, that Nelly) is coming to town this fall. My wife asked if I would go with her and, even though I hate Nelly, I said I would, if she would go to the Cardinals game with me. Her response was, “That’s a lot of ask of me.”

Arizona Cardinals football: an unreasonable request.

 Submissions for the Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: Minnesota Vikings.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.

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