Green: Cardinals are becoming irrelevant again
The Arizona Cardinals are on the precipice of a dangerous situation.
No, last place is not what I'm talking about. Sure, being in the basement of the worst division in football is quite sad, but the fate that awaits the Big Red is much, much worse.
Irrelevance is one of, if not the, worst things that can happen to a professional sports franchise. If you get to a point where no one cares what you do - good or bad - then you may as well fold up shop and not even bother trying (as if the Cardinals have been trying anyway, heh).
An Arizona native, I grew up a Cardinals fan. My family
hated me enough to have was
fortunate enough to have season tickets, so at least eight
Sundays a year my dad and I would join twenty-thousand of
our closest friends to watch the local team play "NFL
football" in the oven they call Sun Devil Stadium.
The most fun games were when the Cowboys, or some other big draw, was in town because the stadium was packed. There are few things like a sold-out NFL game, even if the majority of the fans are cheering against your team.
The problem those days, besides the team's ineptitude, was that the only way you could see them when they were at home was if you bought a ticket. The games never sold out and, for that reason, were never shown on local TV.
Few people complained because they preferred watching better teams on the tube, but to not have the Arizona Cardinals shown in the state of Arizona was frustrating, especially after I moved to Tucson for college and my folks gave up our season tickets. They said they did not want me to waste my time coming back for games, and given these were during the end of the Dave McGinnis era and beginning of Denny Green's, one could argue they were still being great parents and protecting me. But I digress.
Part of what has made the Cardinals' renaissance so entertaining was the fact that not only were they on TV and in the news, but everyone was talking about the team as well. The stadium was not only sold out every week but actually full of fans. This year the team has lost games while the Valley has lost interest. That's not good.
It's not like this is new for us, as that's how things were in the 90s and, to be honest, most of the time the Cardinals have been in Arizona. It's not that people do not like the Cardinals; they just don't care about them. Losing does that to a fan-base, and the Cardinals have certainly done plenty of that in their history.
Think about it: Have you made sure to watch every minute of the last few games? Are you even upset with the team's five-game losing skid, or have you said to yourself "Same old Cardinals" and moved on with your life?
The Cardinals want your support but need your interest. If a team plays a game but nobody sees it, did it really happen? If things continue to go in the direction they are we may soon find out.
Adam can be reached with your questions and comments by e-mail here, and you can follow him on Twitter @theAdamGreen