The biggest story was Carson Palmer, and here’s why
It never occurred to me that I’d be the only one.
After looking at Arizonasports.com Friday, I feel like the only guy who thought the Christmas party was of the ugly sweater variety. Now I have to mingle around the room and try to explain why I’ve got a giant Santa face embroidered on my chest.
Friday, our editors released what we at Arizona Sports 620 and .com thought was the biggest Arizona sports story of the year. Not shocking, the majority of our panel chose the ongoing D-backs/Dodgers feud. Makes sense.
On a similar, but national, list on Sports Illustrated’s website, “Poolgate” was listed as the 44th most “ASTOUNDING, EXTRAORDINARY, INDELIBLE, OUTRAGEOUS, and utterly UNFORGETTABLE moment of the year.”
Look up and down the panel, though, and you’ll see that I’m the only one who voted for the Cardinals’ acquisition of Carson Palmer. I feel compelled to explain.
This time a year ago, the Cardinals’ lack of a quarterback was the biggest story in town. A public eyesore. That crumbling, weed-infested, vacated house in your neighborhood that drives down the value of all the homes around it. If we had made a 2013 To-Do-List for Arizona sports this time a year ago, finding a quarterback for the local NFL team would have been at the top of it.
The Cardinals found one. They’re winning with him. They’ve already achieved just the fourth winning season in the history of their time here in part because of Palmer.
Obviously not all the credit goes to Palmer. If we’re pie-charting the Cardinals’ success, Steve Keim probably gets the biggest piece, along with Bruce Arians and the defense. And yes, I was one of the voices whispering the name of Drew Stanton when Palmer’s struggles were most pronounced.
Since that Seattle game, the Cardinals are 6-1 and Palmer has completed 69 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns, four interceptions and a QB rating of 106.
Of course, they still need a long-term, franchise signal caller, and the Cardinals may very well draft one this spring. But they don’t necessarily have to thanks to Palmer’s play.
So many worthy candidates this year: ASU’s Pac-12 South title, resolution of the Coyotes ownership, Paul Goldschmidt’s MVP-caliber year and the remarkably quick turnaround of the Suns.
The Dodgers’ pool party story was overblown, especially when some treated the pool like it was federally protected land or some ancient burial ground. It’s a luxury suite for goodness sakes. It just happens to have a pool in the middle of it.
So I went with Palmer. Other stories were “bigger” I suppose, depending on how you want to subjectively define what “big” is. For me, nothing needed to happen more than the Cardinals finding a quarterback they could win with.
Plenty big in my book.