It’s Christmas Day so I’ll keep this short. Even though Arizona Cardinals fans have a lot to be thankful for this year and especially next. Let’s go through what happened, poke under the tree and unwrap those special moments that warmed our hearts, lifted our spirits and brought us to our feet.
1. A WINNING SEASON
Even though it wasn’t long ago and football season can run by faster than Blitzen on a Mistletoe Binge, it still seemed like the last winning season for The Cardinals was a Dickens Age ago. Not since Kurt Warner led the team to a 10-6 NFC West winning 2009 season have we been so lucky. And yet like then, somehow it is the Saints who are threatening to be the Cardinals Grinch.
2. THE DEFENSE
Sometimes you gotta be naughty to be nice. To your fans that is. And the Arizona Cardinals defense is very, very naughty. I’m sure that defensive monsters Darnell Dockett, Karlos Dansby, John Abraham, Calais Campbell, Daryl Washington and more will be receiving coal in their stockings from some of this season’s opposing quarterbacks. Good thing too, because this train runs on coal and they’re going to need boats load of it to beat the 49ers this weekend.
3. THE HONEY BADGER
Of all the great things that came out of this years draft I think nabbing Tyrann Matheiu in the third round is a gift under the tree that will keep on giving. Despite his season ending injury I don’t think there’s a doubt in anyone’s mind that he won’t be back bigger, badder and badgery than ever. Here’s looking forward to the many years we’ll get to see this young man play in Cardinal red.
4. ANDRÈ ELLINGTON
If finding Tyrann untouched under the tree in the third round wasn’t good enough how about finding this little Elf on a Shelf in the sixth? Not only is Andrè one of the best rookie running backs in all the league he’s also got wide receiver hands and can run routes with the best of them. Thank you Santa for sending him to the desert. We’ll make sure we take great care of our latest gift.
5. KARLOS DANSBY AND JOHN ABRAHAM
The story of Christ is one of resurrection. And if there were ever a pair of resurrected players in the NFL it would have to be these two. To think that Atlanta passed on re-signing OLB Abraham is mind boggling when you look at what he’s done this year for Arizona. And what was Miami thinking letting “Dirty Bird” Dansby fly back to the coup? All I can say is their loss is our gain and we’re all the merrier for it.
6. BRUCE ARIANS
Our own personal Santa Claus here in Arizona. He showed up to town and knew exactly what we wanted. No, not wanted. He knew what we needed. Want a starting quarterback free of controversy? Here. You’ve got Carson Palmer. Want an experienced coaching staff that will teach up the team? Done. Check under the tree. How about a league leading defense? Sure, he gave us that by bringing in Todd Bowles. From top to bottom Arians has been right, direct and never wavering from his core mission statement, “Team is what it takes.” And he built one heck of a team.
7. THE RETURN OF JONATHAN COOPER IN 2014
2012 was a rough year. There were more holes in the offensive line than Tiny Tim’s stocking. So when Steve Keim made the bold move of picking a Guard in the first round we in the Red Sea felt like the right Captain was at the helm. Then when the big man broke his leg during the Pre-Season a sudden chill fell over us all. Well, since then there have been additions and subtractions and it seems the right equation has been struck. And to think that next year we get Coop back? We just may be spoiled.
Sure there are many more to list. Larry finding his rhythm. Floyd emerging as a strong number two. Peterson continuing to be elite. However, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. After all, if the Cardinals don’t get in the playoffs these gifts will go back under the tree for further examination next year. But for now let’s be thankful. It was a blessed year indeed.