After a brief hiatus, KYFO is back on what we’ll call a Wolf Grey Friday. This week’s Sunday Night Football showdown pits your Seattle Seahawks against the mildly-hated Arizona Cardinals. Know them, learn them, loathe them.
There’s a new sheriff in town. And he looks like an aging version of Ralphie from A Christmas Story.
Bruce Arians is the type of progressive thinker who transcends the game of football. He is to the NFL as the inimitable Joe Maddon is to Major League Baseball. Just look at him. Even if you know nothing about his philosophy, you can tell by his trendy eyewear that stat nerds will be whacking off to every decision he makes until the next bespectacled Kangol-hat-sporting savant comes along. Arians understands all the advanced metrics and really, really gets it because JUST LOOK AT THOSE HORN-RIMMED GLASSES, YOU NEANDERTHALS!!!
This is the world we live in. Never mind the fact that Arians has never won a playoff game, let alone a Super Bowl. He’s a two-time NFL Coach of the Year – yeah, no shit – because he’s the new motherfuckin’ sheriff in town, and that’s all that really matters. Sheriff Bruce. He should be roaming the sideline with a plastic star from the dollar store pinned to his chest to really hammer home the lofty, self-appointed title he’s been bestowed.
As sheriff, Arians is in charge of a unit that is more Super Troopers than Dirty Harry.
The Arizona Cardinals are the best team to accomplish nothing in the past half-decade. They’ve made the playoffs once (2014) in the post-Kurt Warner era, and promptly lost to the Carolina Panthers in the Wildcard round of their lone attempt at immortality.
The Cardinals do, however, boast a formidable defense, a respectable offense, and are generally regarded as the most forgettable decent team in the NFL. If they were the Indianapolis Colts, they’d probably hang a banner announcing themselves as the unsung champions of football’s second tier. Because that’s precisely what they are. They are the kings of nothing, anointed emperors of a vast wasteland of meaningful regular-season victories that begat pats on the back and boisterous postgame locker room speeches. Good for them for giving it their everything, though. If there was a hierarchy for participation trophies, they would take home the biggest, baddest, boldest thanks-for-being-here-and-trying-real-hard award of all.
Perhaps their relevant irrelevance begins at the quarterback position, where career underachiever Carson Palmer handles the reins of an offense whose average age is AARP. Between the 63-year-old Palmer, 52-year-old wideout Larry Fitzgerald, and 71-year-old tailback Chris Johnson (all ages listed are educated guesses), the Cardinals’ window for success is fading faster than Michael Floyd’s hairline. And on a related note, you’re not fooling anyone, Michael. You can only line up a rapidly expanding cul-de-sac for so long.
Like his coach, Palmer boasts zero career playoff victories, which makes him the perfect signal-caller for this collection of geriatrics. He isn’t particularly great at any one thing and isn’t at all adept at winning big games. Even if Arizona finagles their way into this year’s postseason, they will undoubtedly lose in the first round because that is what they know and who they are. Hand them a Supporters Shield and be done with it.
On defense, the Cardinals feature an equal number of talented senior citizens in the forms of Calais Campbell, LaMarr Woodley, and the granddaddy of them all, Dwight Freeney. When Freeney takes his Centrum Silver, he occasionally still has the necessary burst to get past offensive linemen and sack the quarterback. He’ll then typically help his victim up, hand him a Werther’s Original, pull a quarter out from behind his ear, and retire to a rocking chair on the sideline.
Despite their glaring lack of youth, Arizona does in fact employ at least a couple individuals who might still get carded when they sit down for a meal at Red Robin. Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu patrol the Cardinals’ secondary, and they exist as arguably the two most talented athletes on the entire roster.
Mathieu, aka the “Honey Badger,” is perhaps best remembered as the guy who prioritized drugs over his college teammates at LSU. He’s been wholly clean since entering the NFL in 2013, which is commendable since most honey badgers don’t give a shit and take what they want.
Peterson is his own Flava Flav, the hype man for his personal brand, a yapping, raving ball of energy determined to prove that he’s the best defensive back in the league. He is not the best DB in the league, nor anywhere close to it, but one has to appreciate the gumption he displays in working to overcome a chronic Napoleon complex.
Though their season is just one injury from completely collapsing, as it has in years’ past, the Cardinals are currently 6-2 and atop the standings in the NFC West. The Seahawks, at 4-4, desperately need a win to stay relevant in the NFC playoff picture. Sunday’s game should be quite the matchup, and fans of both teams will be in for a show.
It’s been nearly two years since Bruce Arians uttered his now infamous quote. And no matter what he or the Cardinals may choose to believe, the NFC crown still belongs to Seattle. So until another club comes and conquers the conference, the new sheriff in town can continue playing cops and robbers.
Best of luck to the visiting Cardinals. Go Hawks.