DAN BICKLEY

Cardinals, Michael Bidwill must work to regain the respect of the Valley

Jul 26, 2023, 4:19 PM | Updated: 6:13 pm

Football season arrives with the smell of wet ash.

The Cardinals are a campfire doused. Expectations have been thoroughly extinguished. They are not under pressure to win football games in 2023. Their mission goes much deeper than that.

In the months ahead, the Cardinals must lay a new foundation. They must regain credibility and respect among the fan base, their opponents and the NFLPA.

They need to restore hope and belief in the Valley. They must develop higher standards, better practice habits, and a vibe that will carry them through all struggles ahead. Through fresh energy and sincerity of effort, they must make gameday attendance mandatory once again.

Best-case scenario: They resemble Dan Campbell’s Lions in 2022, a team that missed the playoffs but electrified the city of Detroit with their passion and intensity. 

The 2023 Cardinals must fight from the new start to the bitter end. And when it’s over, the Valley must stand and applaud, utterly convinced we have the right coach, the right general manager, the right attitude and the right plan moving forward. 

It is also a new era for Michael Bidwill, once the best owner in Arizona sports by default, following the exodus of Jerry Colangelo. That is no longer the case. 

Suns owner Mat Ishbia is clearly the new boss in town, a hyperactive former athlete spending whatever it takes in pursuit of a championship. In terms of aggression, his first season in the Valley has been historic. He is exactly the kind of presence we need in Arizona, the kind that will shame his peers, embarrassing miserly behavior of any kind. 

For a long time, Bidwill was the prodigal son who saved the franchise. He was just like the Blackhawks’ Rocky Wirtz, who died on Tuesday, the son who saved a proud NHL franchise from the competitive sins of his father. It is not by accident that the late Bill Wirtz and the late Bill Bidwill shared the same nickname: Dollar Bill. 

But for all the good Michael Bidwill has done, from spearheading efforts for a new stadium to recruiting multiple Super Bowls to the Valley, the last few years have been a slog. I blame much of this on shell-game shenanigans of his former general manager. But Bidwill’s reputation has taken a significant hit.

To wit:

In the summer of 2016, I walked through Times Square in Manhattan, astounded by what I was witnessing: The Cardinals were featured on a prominent electronic billboard pimping the upcoming television series, “All or Nothing.” It felt like a new apex for the organization, a football team suddenly relevant in New York City. 

It’s been a painful, precipitous fall. Which is why the 2023 Cardinals must change the conversation. They must be violent, proud and nobody’s pushover, regardless of roster deficiencies. They must win us over with their heart, even if their talent is incapable. 

They don’t have to win games to be successful. As long as they make us feel better about the future. 

Reach Dan Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on Arizona Sports. 

Dan Bickley

Jonathan Gannon runs off the field...

Dan Bickley

Do the Cardinals have momentum heading into the 2024 season?

The Cardinals seem to have momentum entering the 2024 season. It’s hard to believe and even harder to accomplish. 

1 hour ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Do Phoenix Suns fans have the patience to see Mat Ishbia’s 3-year plan through?

Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia joined Burns & Gambo to explain his three-year plan for the organization on Wednesday. Dan Bickley ponders if fans have enough patience to see the entire plan all the way through.

6 days ago

Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks fields a ball during Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Gl...

Dan Bickley

Several themes swirl around Diamondbacks at All-Star break

The Arizona Diamondbacks have several questions facing them at the All-Star break with a turning point looming.

8 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: How Diamondbacks’ Torey Lovullo, Ketel Marte can seize MLB All-Star Game opportunity

Arizona skipper Torey Lovullo will lead the National League team for the 2024 MLB All-Star Game while Ketel Marte starts at second base. Dan Bickley explains how the two D-backs' representatives can make the most of their time on the national stage.

8 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Diamondbacks ‘better make the playoffs or else’

The Arizona Diamondbacks are in Wild Card contention despite everything that could've derailed the team in the first half of the season. Dan Bickley is expecting big things for the team after the All-Star break, including another playoff berth.

9 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Is there something magical ahead for Diamondbacks?

Despite everything that's gone on in the first half of the season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, they're still in striking distance of a Wild Card spot in the National League. Dan Bickley wonders if this team can catch lightning in a bottle after the All-Star break, and make another run to the playoffs.

9 days ago

Cardinals, Michael Bidwill must work to regain the respect of the Valley