Larry Fitzgerald shows big game, big heart for Arizona Cardinals
By Scott Allen
If it wasn’t already a sure thing, Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald cemented his Hall of Fame enshrinement Saturday night
What more can be said, written about Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald? Personally, there is never enough to say about the player he is and has been for the Cardinals. More importantly there is never enough to say what he has meant to the fans and the community. That was clearly evident after the Cardinals 26-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers Saturday night.
Fitzgerald has been the face of the Cardinals now for 12 seasons and what he did on Saturday night showed exactly why that is the case. Remember, this a guy many “fans” wanted gone after last season.
The true fans of the Cardinals and Fitz though knew better. The Cardinals themselves knew better. They gave Fitz a contract extension after the 2014 season, one that would hopefully see him end his career in Arizona as a Cardinal.
The rumors were the Cardinals could be trying to shop Fitz in 2014. I didn’t want to believe them. His production may have been down, but that wasn’t entirely his fault. Remember, starting quarterback Carson Palmer only started six games in 2014. It’s tough to gain any consistency as a receiver when your team is playing musical quarterbacks. The rumors just made no sense.
Some that liked Fitz said back in 2014 that now was the time they felt like they could still get some value in return before it was too late. What? There are was no way Fitz was going to leave Arizona. Yes, the Cardinals had to figure out the numbers to make it work. The salary cap said something was going to have to happen. The Cardinals made it happen, they made it work to keep Fitz as a Cardinal for the rest of his career.
Fast forward to the 2015 season. Fitz had himself a career year. He set a career high in receptions with 109. He finished over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in four seasons, gaining 1,215 yards for the season. He had nine touchdowns. On a team with so many weapons and on a team that saw 19 different players score a touchdown, that’s impressive.
The you get to Saturday night. Fitz wasn’t too involved in the first half. He had one reception for six yards in the first half. The then second half happened.
Fitz finished with eight receptions for 176 yards. He had the huge 75 yard catch and run on the first play of overtime to take the ball down to the five yard line. Two plays later, Palmer shoveled a pass to Fitz for the game winner. The Cardinals had been saving that play all season.
After the game, as Fitz was being interviewed by ESPN’s Josina Anderson after the game, he answered her questions and then at the end of the interviews he threw in a prayer for ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, who had disclosed the day before that he was fighting Stage IV throat cancer.
Class. Pure class. No one asked him to do that and for Fitz to have the presence of mind to do that at that time, shows why Fitz’s big game isn’t the only reason we love him and why he deserves the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A lot of it is how you carry yourself as an individual. Fitz is the pure definition of a hall of famer. He is the heart of Arizona Cardinals football.