The moment Andy Reid agreed to become the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Arizona Cardinals’ chance of “winning the press conference” with their choice went out the window.
Because of all the viable candidates on the market (i.e.: not Lovie Smith), Reid was the only one with any kind of track record of success as a head coach.
So before you start complaining about how disappointed you are in the Cardinals’ decision to hire Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians because he’s unproven, please remember that the team’s other options were not exactly bringing a wealth of NFL head coach experience with them.
Mike McCoy? No.
Darrell Bevell? Nay.
Jay Gruden? Nein.
Ray Horton? No (that one is in Spanish).
So that the team hired Arians, who comes to Arizona with more than 30 years of experience as a coach, should not necessarily be met with disappointment or angst. A yawn, maybe, but that’s about it. And that was going to be the case no matter who the team gave the job to.
The truth is Arians is as good a choice as anybody who was left — and maybe even better.
He’s had success working with quarterbacks, as Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck have all had success with him calling the shots, and that’s likely one of the reasons the quarterback-inept Cardinals were drawn to him. That, and he does have some experience as a head coach, after having the job for much of this past season in Indianapolis, albeit in an interim manner.
And in case you missed it, Arians went 9-3 in Chuck Pagano’s stead. That’s not bad, and it’s a mark that has led some to think he has a shot at NFL Coach of the Year honors.
Those 12 games gave Arians a chance he has yearned for his entire career, and he certainly made the most of it. The Colts made an improbable run to the playoffs and the longtime assistant proved he could handle the role of being a head coach.
He had to prove it to himself as well as the NFL. He did both, and now he’s a head coach.
“I never thought it was going to come,” Arians told AZCardinals.com after being hired Thursday. “And I appreciate it so much I’ll give it every single thing I have. The passion and energy I bring to this is something I love to do.”
There’s no denying Arians earned this opportunity.
Arians, 60, certainly comes into the job with some question marks, and that’s OK. There is no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to a hire like this, and one should keep in mind every great NFL coach was a first-time head coach at some point in their career.
Of course, that’s not to say Arians will be the next great head coach, because right now no one knows how this will turn out. He is one of eight new hires across the league, and odds are more than half will be out of a job within the next five years.
But at the very least — and at long last — the Cardinals found their man. Arians won’t win the press conference, but he might win some games.
And that’s the only time a win really counts for anything, anyway.