Cardinals’ emotions vary on mid-flight U-turn, canceled preseason finale

Aug 30, 2021, 2:23 PM | Updated: Sep 2, 2021, 1:10 pm
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals participates in an off-season workout at Dignit...
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals participates in an off-season workout at Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center on June 02, 2021 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

TEMPE — When the Arizona Cardinals boarded the plane for New Orleans, the plan was to play Saturday in the team’s preseason finale against the Saints.

Hurricane Ida had other ideas.

Flipping the script on the fly — literally — the matchup was canceled mid-flight as the hurricane closed in on the area, forcing the Cardinals to turn around over Texas.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury was flipping through the pages of a book when he got a tap on the shoulder about the change in plans.

“Just disappointed,” Kingsbury said Monday about his thoughts on the situation. “Chris Streveler was gonna start. There’s some guys you wanted to see in big moments, big opportunities, so you think about those guys that really had a chance to showcase not only for our team but for the league.

“Then to put a positive spin on it, we were able to come back and coaches get a lot of work done for Tennessee, have a walk-through Sunday towards Tennessee so we just try to make the best of it.”

Outside linebacker Devon Kennard was also thinking about the opportunities lost for many of the players on the roster bubble.

“There were a couple guys we would have liked to see a little bit more but we had a good amount of data on the guys, if you will, to make the right decisions, we felt like, as an organization,” Kingsbury added.

It’s a rare occurrence when an NFL game gets canceled due to weather, speaking to the magnitude of the situation.

Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries was “definitely glad” the cancellation and turnaround happened, but feels for those in the path of the hurricane.

“I had to send a prayer real quick for New Orleans,” he said. “If we’re turning around in the air that’s pretty much a signal that things are getting worse and it’s not gonna be pretty.

“Definitely praying for all those families that’s involved in New Orleans and having to go through that right now, especially seeing what they’ve been through the last decade … and continuing to have to go through it.”

Much like Humphries, Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden isn’t new to NFL travel.

He’s been on flights that were grounded due to weather, but nothing like Friday’s ordeal.

“It was crazy, I was actually taking a nap — I usually fall asleep three minutes into the flight when they take off,” Golden said. “And then the intercom came on and I woke up out my sleep and I heard them say the game was cancelled.

“But I didn’t even hear him say we was turning around. … I think I kinda felt it when we spun around but not too much. It was weird to be in a flight then turn around and head back. That was weird.”

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