‘Same Old Cardinals’ becoming a distant memory
I was born in the early ’70s but that doesn’t mean I remember much about them.
I remember Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind at the Cine Capri in Phoenix. Suns games at the Madhouse on McDowell. I remember the disco albums that my parents owned and the psychedelic wallpaper in our house.
I don’t recall Nixon or Ford and only a little bit of Carter. I get flashes of the hostage crisis in Iran but can’t remember the long lines at gas stations or Three Mile Island. I have no idea what I was doing when the US beat the Soviets in hockey.
And so it shall be with the Arizona Cardinals. There will be an entire generation of fans who won’t recall with any clarity the early days of NFL football in the Valley.
One of these days, and it’s not too far off, moves like the ones made by the Cards on Monday — reworking the deals of GM Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians to reward a job well done — will barely register on the meter. There will come a time when fans won’t be able to recall the time when the Arizona Cardinals annually struggled to do the right thing or to hire the right people.
Nothing reflects this more than how Michael Bidwill and the front office handled the Larry Fitzgerald contract.
Think of all the hours wasted speculating on whether it was going to get done and how the fan base would react if it didn’t. Then contrast that will how quickly and easily it did actually get done. A full year’s worth of worry wiped out within three weeks of the Super Bowl. In a way it was shocking how simple and painless it all was.
It won’t always be this painless. Difficult decisions are on the horizon; Daryl Washington, Darnell Dockett. But the level of faith in this organization is at an all-time high.
Frankly it reminds me of a time when Jerry Colangelo was literally running the local sports scene. Your faith in him was so stout you quickly forgave him for the inevitable mistakes. No one will ever be as loved as Jerry, but the Cardinals are perfecting their Caliendo-like impersonation.
The Cardinals have cornered the market on doing things the right way (though ASU football is starting to carve out its own niche). Older fans like me will remember the days when we used to debate which team owned this town.
Soon, those memories will fade into the same shadows where the Same Old Cardinals are living out their final days.