DAN BICKLEY

Bickley: Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray, Gannon ruin New Year’s Eve for Eagles

Dec 31, 2023, 2:29 PM | Updated: 5:27 pm

Kyler Murray and Jonathan Gannon chat pregame...

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals fist bumps Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 31, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Kyler Murray is not averse to taking fashion risks. His pregame attire occasionally makes him the subject of ridicule.

On Sunday, he was the troll.

Before a stunning 35-31 victory at Lincoln Financial Field, Murray strolled into enemy territory wearing a Sidney Crosby replica jersey. On a day commemorating the return of Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon — one of Philadelphia’s most heinous sporting villains — Murray chose to rep one of the city’s most hated hockey rivals.

It was the biggest show of visiting chutzpah in Philly since the Diamondbacks punched their ticket to the World Series. And if little things tell big stories, Murray’s stellar performance in his show of solidarity with Gannon marked a huge step forward for this football team.

The Cardinals effectively ruined New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia. They dealt a huge blow to the Eagles’ title hopes. They dominated time of possession. They rushed for 221 yards. They muzzled Gannon’s hostile haters for eternity.

Pennsylvania legend James Conner completed his two-game demolition of the Steelers and the Eagles with another massive individual performance. Michael Carter was electric as a backup running back, giving the team a dynamic 1-2 combination moving forward.

Meanwhile, Greg Dortch staked his claim as a 2024 starter; while Michael Wilson came to life after an embarrassing bout of miscommunication with Murray in the first half, resulting in a 99-yard pick six that had Valley football fans raging about their diminutive quarterback all over again.

Haters, please stop. Consider how bad Patrick Mahomes is struggling with a mediocre supporting cast this season in Kansas City. And Mahomes is pretty good, right?

Murray’s second-half performance should remove all doubt about the immediate future. The visiting Cardinals dominated the Eagles in the second half, just like they dominated the Steelers during the second half in Pittsburgh. And in the end, there was only one conclusion, one that might change and endanger the career path of Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni:

Jonathan Gannon wins a game that has been circled on the calendar for months, beating a team with a superior roster.

For many reasons, the return of Gannon was not exactly your classic Philly hate-fest. The Eagles have their own problems. They have been emasculated in the second half of the season, exposed as a team with internal issues. The vitriol on Sunday was mostly reserved for the home team, and not the visiting head coach.

That must’ve made Gannon feel good. Especially as he ran off the field in victory.

The victory also secured what might be the best four-win season of any rookie head coach in NFL history. Because Gannon’s team has displayed tenacity, passion and competitive spirit. They play to the end of games, good or bad. Just like they’re playing to the end of the season as well. And on Sunday, they punched the Broad Street bullies in their face, in their backyard, just like our baseball team did two months ago.

That’s how you built culture in a lost season. That’s how you build hope for the future.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta mornings from 6-10 a.m. Arizona Sports.

Presented By
Western Governors University

Dan Bickley

Kevin Durant and Devin Booker look on...

Dan Bickley

Suns have 27 games to prep before chase for poetic justice begins

Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Suns fans can have a weight lifted if the 2023-24 Phoenix Suns can win an NBA championship this year.

16 hours ago

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo NLDS Game 3 October 11, 2023 (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Spo...

Dan Bickley

Torey Lovullo has become the Diamondbacks’ Braveheart through the ups and downs

Torey Lovullo has endured criticism and success through his tenure with the Diamondbacks and has emerged as our version of William Wallace in Braveheart.

7 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: The growing feud of Draymond Green vs. Phoenix Suns’ Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkić

Draymond Green took to his podcast to share what he said to Kevin Durant after the Suns faced the Warriors on Saturday. Dan Bickley dives into the growing feud between the Golden State forward vs. KD and Jusuf Nurkić. Video: Felisa Cárdenas and Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports Photos: Chris Coduto, Thearon W. Anderson, Ethan Miller, Tim […]

7 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: With sights on a three-peat, could Patrick Mahomes be the Michael Jordan of the NFL?

After back-to-back Super Bowl wins and sights set on a three-peat, Dan Bickley makes a case for why Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes could be the Michael Jordan of the NFL. Video: Felisa Cárdenas and Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports Photos: Felisa Cárdenas/Arizona Sports; Getty Images

8 days ago

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...

Dan Bickley

Bickley: WM Phoenix Open caps the weirdest, wettest and wildest tournament ever

Fans of the 2024 WM Phoenix Open experienced one of the weirdest, wettest and wildest versions of the tournament to date.

10 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Everything the Phoenix Suns did on trade deadline day was exhilarating

On the Bickley Blast following the NBA trade deadline, Dan Bickley said the Suns’ moves were “exhilarating.” Video: Felisa Cárdenas and Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports

12 days ago

Bickley: Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray, Gannon ruin New Year’s Eve for Eagles