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 itů.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.