It’s always difficult when someone loses their job — yes, even multi-millionaires like Ken Whisenhunt.
But the time had come. Every coach has a message, a plan, a belief in his system and Whisenhunt was no different. He also had a track record of success here, albeit just two years of success, but that still qualifies.
Whisenhunt’s message was no longer getting through, it wasn’t working. Coaches tell players to “do it my way, do everything I am telling you to do, bust it for me every day in practice and the rewards will be there on the field.”
Only there weren’t very many rewards for Arizona over the last three years. The system that the players were asked to believe in had failed miserably on one side of the ball and belief in the head coach and what he was selling had waned.
Such is life in the NFL where coaches have to win to keep their jobs. Whisenhunt ended up a casualty like so many other coaches Monday because he didn’t win enough games. Credit goes to Michael Bidwill and the Cardinals organization for recognizing that this wasn’t working anymore and for being committed to winning in Arizona. Because it was a Bidwill making the decision — and the Bidwill family is notorious for being cheap — no one knew for sure if they were willing to eat the $5.75 million remaining on Whisenhunt’s contract. They could have easily just fired Rod Graves, brought in a new general manager and allowed the head coach to stay for the final year of his deal. Instead they proved something to a lot of people Monday; three consecutive non-winning seasons wasn’t cutting it anymore, and that the expiration date on the good will from the Super Bowl run had come.
Whisenhunt led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl after a 9-7 season in 2008 and back to the playoffs again with a 10-6 mark the next year. Because of that, his job wasn’t on the line with that 5-11 season in 2010 or the 8-8 last year. Not winning this season, coupled with some incredibly poor personnel decisions (especially at the quarterback spot) over the last few years, was too much to overcome.
The decision to fire Whisenhunt was the correct one. It’s time to start over. Time for a new voice, a new message, a new leader. But let’s not forget what Whisenhunt did as the Cardinals head coach. Let’s not forget how amazing those two seasons were and let’s thank the man that took the Cardinals where they had never gone before.
He gave us a few years of “In Whiz we trust” and made us forget “Same old Cardinals”. For that Cardinals fans should be very appreciative. I respect how he went out on his terms — sitting that whiner Beanie Wells in the final game.
Whiz isn’t leaving on bad terms, no one is throwing him under the first train out of town or telling him not to let the door hit him on the ass on the way out.
He was too good for all of that. It’s just time for a change.