Tag Archives: Donald Trump

With Playoff Hopes Dashed, Cardinals Entertain the Saints

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Last Sunday, Miami kicker Andrew Franks booted a 21-yard field goal squarely through the uprights as time expired, propelling the Dolphins to their seventh win in eight games. Cardinals fans who made the trek to rainy South Florida sat soaked and blinking, resisting the gravity of the consequences. An Arizona team that finished one game short of the Super Bowl last season was suddenly and bluntly out of playoff contention.

For Cardinals Nation, this realization was a little like learning that Pluto was no longer a planet or discovering too late that sweetbread is really the pancreas of a calf. When the underpinnings of understanding are warped, the task turns to shoring up one’s bearings.

Management, players and fans will have long months to assess the shortcomings of this season. But at some point, maybe in the fiery heat of the Sonoran summer, thoughts will shift from autopsy to optimism.

Meanwhile, Cardinals fans, the time may be ripe to scratch a few items off your bucket list, such as:
– Compiling the definitive guide to shorebirds of the North Atlantic
– Tugging on Donald Trump’s hair
– Wrestling Peter Dinklage
– Assembling a parliament of owls
– Smiting a foe with the jawbone of an ass
– Committing heinous acts of Twittery (see Donald Trump)
– Milking a yak
– Throwing beads to Barbara Bush during Mardi Gras, hoping to be flashed
…and so on.

Speaking of Mardi Gras, the New Orleans Saints parade into town today to take on the 5-7-1 Cardinals. On the field, the lovable Saints bring a long tradition of substandard football. Off the field, they’re part of a city rich with the traditions of Creole, crawfish, Cajuns, and yes, Mardi Gras, where the colors of purple, green and gold—symbolizing justice, faith and power—are found in the costumes and floats of the revelers.

Will a Cardinals team embittered by missing the playoffs take out their frustrations on the 5-8 Saints today? Or has their zeal for victory now faded?

Tune in for the answer at 1:05 p.m. PST today. And take a moment to notice the panning shots of the crowd at this season’s final home game. You’ll likely see a stadium awash in Cardinals red—and precious little purple, green or gold.

– Eric Forgaard

This blog is not sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

 

Arizona Cardinals: Angst, and the Loneliness of the Long Snapper

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The Arizona Cardinals announced the release of rookie long snapper Kameron Canaday this week. “Release”—what a pleasant term. It evokes images of doves at a wedding or dandelion seeds on a spring breeze. Other words seem more suitable for a promising team that has slogged to a 1-2 start, such as “fired,” or “axed.” Canaday botched the snap on the game winning field goal attempt in week one, and blew another in Buffalo last week that was returned 53 yards for a defensive touchdown. Cardinals fans may prefer his head, but they’ll have to settle for his dismissal.

Canaday played his college ball at Portland State and participated in football and basketball in high school. His father played college football at Western Oregon. This is more than you should ever know about a long snapper. He’s like your company’s custodian or computer guy–you don’t think much about them until something goes wrong.

In a season rife with expectations for the Arizona Cardinals, much has gone wrong.

The Cardinals went three-and-out on each of their first five possessions in their 33-18 loss to Buffalo last week, amassing a total of…wait for it…two yards. And QB Carson Palmer threw interceptions on Arizona’s final four drives—the same number you would throw if you were somehow called upon. This from an offense that lead the NFL last year with 408 passing yards and 30.6 points per game. Adding to frustrations, a defense stocked with difference-makers like Pro-bowlers Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Calais Campbell has generally underperformed.

In assessing last week’s effort, Arizona General Manager Steve Keim said, “When you lose it feels like the sky is falling, and when you win everything is great.” This mirrors the fans’ perspective, but the difference is that Keim has the power to work the phones and ship out players to ply their trade elsewhere. “The talent is there,” Keim said, “…but the number of ‘mental busts’ on both sides of the ball after three weeks is distressing.”

Distressing indeed.

Early season cobwebs, an out-of-sync offense, balls bouncing the wrong way—a Cardinals team that may appear to need some fine tuning instead likely needs a slap in the face. Coach Bruce Arians, the strategist and philosopher, reasoned to the media that the team may be trying too hard or is perhaps overconfident. Arians the red-ass used more colorful language in the locker room this week, and Cardinals practices were shot through with anger and urgency.

Arizona hosts the Rams Sunday, a team that has been a thorn in its side the last few years. Carson Palmer was left writhing in pain with a torn ACL in the Nov. 9, 2014 contest, and a Cardinals team that had been rolling at 7-1 skidded to a 3-4 finish and an early playoff exit. And on Oct. 4, 2015 the underdog Rams topped Arizona 24-22, delivering one of only three losses the Cards suffered all year.

The Rams franchise returns to Los Angeles this season after a twenty year hiatus in St. Louis. There were flares of greatness in those years, mostly in 1999, when The Greatest Show on Turf, highlighted by QB Kurt Warner and RB Marshall Faulk, finished 13-3 and took down the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. There were lean seasons too, when wins were as scarce as condor sightings and Donald Trump apologies. Between 2007 and 2009, the Rams’ record was an appalling 6-42.

LA fans may yearn for the glory days of Deacon Jones and Jack Youngblood, or Norm Van Brocklin and Elroy “crazylegs” Hirsh. For now, they have a great running back in Todd Gurley, a promising defense, and not much more. The 49ers spoiled LA’s season opener, throttling the Rams 28-0, but the Rams have since rebounded with two wins and share the NFC West lead with Seattle.

Arizona can pull into a three-way tie with a home victory over LA today and a Seattle loss to the NY Jets. But a loss would leave the Cardinals in the division cellar, and the cauldron of a packed University of Phoenix Stadium would surely boil over with exasperation.

LONDON, AGAIN

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is keen to grow the game internationally, yet every season he flings substandard teams across the Atlantic like Detroit, Tampa Bay, and Oakland—and now Sunday’s contestants, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts.

The British gave us Newton’s Laws, the programmable computer, the steam locomotive, and the theory of evolution. Oh, and the English language. What have we given them? The Jacksonville Jaguars, every year since 2013.

The Jaguars’ 0-3 record this year squares with their recent history—they’ve notched only three winning seasons since 2000—and this time the good citizens of London will shuffle into Wembley Stadium to endure the Jags’ scrum against 1-2 Indianapolis. It’s a “home” game for Jacksonville, in the sense that it’s 4,259 miles from Florida. While trying to grow the fan base abroad, Mr. Goodell, might you be softening a U.S. base accustomed to watching games on home soil?

This series is not a glad-hearted tale of cultural exchange. It’s an all-too-familiar story of corporate greed.

WATCHING HILARIOUS CAT VIDEOS

The following players are unable to play this week, and may be otherwise engaged:

Frostee Rucker, defensive tackle: knee
Drew Butler, punter: calf
Kameron Canaday, long snapper: embarrassment

  • Eric Forgaard

This blog is not sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation