‘Gut feeling’ had Flores turn down Cardinals ‘opportunity’ for Vikings DC job

Feb 15, 2023, 1:44 PM | Updated: 1:45 pm

Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins looks on from the sideline in the first half of the g...

Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins looks on from the sideline in the first half of the game against the Houston Texans at Hard Rock Stadium on November 07, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals did indeed cast a net far and wide on their search for a new head coach, as owner Michael Bidwill put it after the team fired Kliff Kingsbury.

A total of 10 candidates over a month-long process were reportedly interviewed, and one of them was former Pittsburgh Steelers assistant Brian Flores.

After all those first interviews, Flores, New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo were the three reported names to have a second interview scheduled as finalists.

But two days before his interview was set, Flores accepted an offer from the Minnesota Vikings to become their defensive coordinator.

It appeared Flores had turned down the chance to potentially becoming the Cardinals’ new head coach, and he spoke on that decision during his introductory press conference on Wednesday.

“Yeah, I mean there was still an opportunity with Arizona,” he said, not clarifying if he was offered the job or was simply still in the mix. “Like I said, this was — you almost get a gut feeling. I think we’ve all kind of had those, that this was the place for me and my family. This was the right opportunity.

“It’s funny, I was in church a couple weeks ago as this was all going on. And the pastor in Pittsburgh, he said, ‘In life there’s instances where you can either have control or you can have growth and you can’t have both.’ That kind of hit me pretty good. I just felt like this was a great opportunity for growth.”

Those three finalists, however, didn’t make the final cut.

A day after the Super Bowl, the Cardinals interviewed Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon for the first time. On Tuesday, they spoke again, and then Gannon was officially the new man for the job.

Flores, unlike Gannon, has prior head coaching experience. He spent three years as head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019-21, posting a record of 24-25. Flores’ previous experience was largely under Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots as a long-time staffer.

He also worked with new Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort in New England.

Gannon led the Eagles’ defense to the Super Bowl this year, where they fell to the Kansas City Chiefs. Philadelphia was second in yards allowed per game under Gannon and it topped the league leaderboards in sacks with 70.

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