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Burns & Gambo

Updated Dec 21, 2011 - 11:52 pm

In Coach Whiz we trust — again

Ken Whisenhunt recently told the Arizona Republic that the
remarkable recovery by the Arizona Cardinals “builds
equity….when you go through the pain of losing those
games with all these young guys, and they understand now
what they have to do in order to get out of it, that makes
you stronger as a team.”

It’s apt that he used the word “equity.” In that regard,
Whisenhunt is a lot like my house; both have lost a ton of
equity. The big difference is he got his back. I can only
hope my house (and yours, for that matter) regains its
equity the way Ken Whisenhunt has.

After a 1-6 start you would have thought his office chair
was lined with hot coals. Speculation ran wild. The
inboxes and twitter accounts of local talk show hosts and
writers filled daily with calls for Whisenhunt’s job. It
should have been, and was, evident that nothing was going
to happen in 2011; his contract simply didn’t allow for a
change right now. But in all that noise it was clear…Ken
Whisenhunt had used up all his equity with the fans.

The noise is gone. Predictably the “Whiz has gotta go”
emails dried up weeks ago. And in that silence of
marveling at a team that is playing relevant meaningful
games in the month of December, one thing is very clear to
me:

Outside of the Super Bowl year, Ken Whisenhunt has never
done a better job as coach of the Cardinals than he has in
2011.

This team was toast. Dead. Buried. At 1-6, a three or four
win season was a fait accompli. It was only a matter of
time until the locker room checked out, sick of the losing
culture that proved tougher to shake than the cold I’m
fighting through right now.

But none of it happened. Nobody quit. Nobody stopped. The
outside static remained outside. Adjustments were made,
schemes were learned and draft picks were validated, all
while Whisenhunt held it all together with duct tape.

Think about it….they’ve managed to make it all the way
back to .500 with the quarterback situation just as
muddled and unsure as it’s ever been.

In case you need further proof, consider this: as my
colleague Dan Bickley points out in his column
, if the Cardinals win one of these last two games,
Whisenhunt will have coached the Cardinals to a .500
record or better in four of his five seasons here.

Put in context of the Cardinals history or in the context
of today’s helter-skelter NFL, it’s a remarkable
achievement.

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