Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely said it best on Twitter, “Football is back!!!!”
With the NFL lockout ending that means we are just a matter of days from putting away the rumors that have spread as if the media were a bunch of high school girls hanging out at lunch and finding out who will line up under center for the Cards in 2011.
I’ve been a Cardinals fan since they moved to the Valley in 1988 when I was just a kid. For the most part, watching whoever they lined up at quarterback has been about as enjoyable as walking barefoot through an asphalt parking lot in Phoenix in July. With the exception of Kurt Warner and Jake Plummer — when he wasn’t throwing the football behind his back or into the hands of a waiting defender — they haven’t had one signal caller that could even be considered decent.
Names like Tom Tupa (yep, the same guy who made his name as a punter and punch line for Cardinals fans), Cliff Stoudt, Timm Rosenbach (I mean really, who spells Tim with two m’s?), Gary Hogeboom, John Navarre, Stan Gelbaugh, Shaun King, Stoney Case (sounds more like the name of an investigation a detective in the Phoenix police department’s drug unit would be working on rather than an NFL player), Max Hall and yes, Derek Anderson have all started at least one game at quarterback for the Cards since 1988. With a list like that, it’s no wonder why fans are so excited for Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, Matt Hasselbeck or anyone who has ever shown any marginal talent in the NFL to be playing in Cardinal red this fall.
You can count me amongst their ranks. The reasoning is simple. If Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt do what everyone has talked about since Richard Bartel took the final snap of last season and acquire either Kolb or Orton, they’ll be adding the third best quarterback in Arizona Cardinals history to the roster.
Yeah, I said it. Kolb or Orton would be the third best quarterback to line up for the Cards since their arrival in the Valley over 22 years ago. Then again, that’s like saying someone’s girlfriend is the prettiest woman in Walmart at 1 a.m. It’s not exactly a badge of honor.
Between Kolb’s potential and Orton’s track record, when the Cardinals head up the hill to Flagstaff — assuming they can actually make transactions prior to camp starting — they will be sitting in a much better situation at the quarterback position than in most years (just read the brief list above for proof).
Both quarterbacks will generate a buzz that only Plummer and Warner have done at the position. Also, either move will place the NFL media spotlight — however briefly in this chaotic abbreviated offseason — on Cardinals training camp in a similar way being the defending NFC champions did a few years ago.
No matter whether the Cardinals add a quarterback that is viewed around the league as one of the best young prospects at the position in Kolb or one who has proven it on the field in Orton, as a lifelong fan of the team, it’s just nice to see they’re willing to be proactive at the position. For the first time in forever, they may actually have a quarterback of the future. At worst they’ll have the third biggest name at the position in team history.