There are plenty of things that go into making a successful football team.
You’ll need good players, and from there it’s helpful to have a quality coaching staff.
But one thing that gets talked about a lot but is rarely seen in the public eye is accountability. Sure, a player getting into legal trouble and the subsequent fallout lives under that umbrella, but sometimes issues are not as high profile.
In fact, as showcased by the Amazon series “All or Nothing,” one of the Cardinals’ rules (pun most certainly intended) is making sure to park one’s car in the right spot.
It’s brought up in the first episode, when head coach Bruce Arians is talking to his players.
“My pet peeve is I came to work two days in a row now and some (expletive) was in my spot,” he said. “One was a Jeep with Washington plates today, alright, yesterday it was Jeep with Texas plates, I think, was in my spot.
“If there’s a sign on a parking place anywhere in this facility, don’t park in the (expletive) or I’ll tow your ass.”
Apparently at least one player had trouble with that rule, though we didn’t know it at the time.
On Oct. 21 of last year the Cardinals released defensive tackle Lawrence Okoye from their practice squad. It’s the type of move that generally flies under the radar, as he was not an impact player for the team and few probably even realized he was even with them in the first place.
Turns out, it was his inability to follow directions that led to his departure.
In the third episode, we see a meeting with GM Steve Keim, Arians and team president Michael Bidwill, where Keim begins by saying they were moving on from Okoye.
“Parked in the wrong spot,” Arians says. “There weren’t any parking places so he just parked and came running in. Tough (expletive), bro.”
Arians added that Okoye has a different sense of entitlement as a former Olympian, saying “he is a talented guy.”
“And he probably ought to go to Oxford,” he says, before Bidwill chimes in with, “You’ve got to follow the rules.”
The next scene in the episode is Arians along with defensive linemen Ed Stinson and Olsen Pierre, who was signed to the practice squad when Okoye was released.
“If you ain’t got no spot to park in, just park in that next parking lot,” Stinson tells Pierre, motioning to an area that is adjacent to the Cardinals’ practice facility.
“If it says ‘handicap’ or if it says ‘season ticket holder,’ the guy that you replaced, he parked there,” Arians quips. “We ain’t got many rules.”
Those thoughts are echoed by Calais Campbell, who is then shown standing up in front of the entire team explaining why something as small as parking in the right spot can actually be a big deal, especially as the team was coming off its second loss of the season in Pittsburgh. The defeat dropped them to 4-2 on the season.
“That’s the kind of thing we can’t have — the signs are there for a reason, you ain’t supposed to park there,” he said. “Just following the rules and handling our business on the small things, that’s really what’s going to turn the corner for us.
“Right now we’re struggling with the small things. That’s one of the reasons why we’re losing.”
The Cardinals must have figured things out, because from that point they reeled off nine straight wins, often times looking outstanding in the process.
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