2007: The year of the Arizona Cardinals’ turnaround
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals’ franchise spent many years fighting for NFL relevance, and then in 2007 they finally broke through
The fact that the Arizona Cardinals failed to make the playoffs in 2007 didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Something special occurred within the organization that year. The franchise underwent a transformation ten years ago, and there have been good times for Cards’ fans ever since.
Sure, there have been a few clunker campaigns along the way. Records of 5-11 in both 2010 and 2012. It was a disappointing 7-8-1 clip last season, when many pundits thought that the Cardinals had a legitimate shot at a Lombardi trophy.
The reason for Arizona’s turnaround over the last decade can be attributed to a front office change that transpired in ’07. It was during that year that Michael Bidwill got promoted to team President. The fact that the Cards’ fortunes did an about face after that move may be more than just a coincidence.
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Bidwill appears to be a friendly, approachable gentleman. This would be in direct contrast to the club’s long-time owner, and father of Michael, Bill Bidwill Sr. The younger Bidwill brought a breath of fresh air to Arizona, something that was badly needed for a very long time.
Another factor in the Cardinals’ emergence in ’07 was something that took place on the field. After years of bad play at the quarterback position, the squad got lucky. From an unlikely source to boot.
Kurt Warner arrived via the free agent route two years earlier, in 2005. The former Super Bowl champion and two-time NFL MVP was jettisoned from both the St.Louis Rams and New York Giants after successive down years. The Cards took a flier on the supposedly washed-up veteran, not believing they had acquired anything special.
How wrong everyone was. Warner, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in August, undoubtedly put Arizona football on the map. Despite having Matt Leinart, the 10th-overall pick of the team in 2006, then-head coach Ken Whisenhunt correctly decided Warner was the better choice.
The signal-caller’s fairy-tale ride with the Cardinals included leading them to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance following the 2008 season. Very few teams find success in the league without competent play from the quarterback position. Warner may very well go down as the best passer in Cards’ history.
Arizona has continued the positive energy. Two hires in 2013 have kept the winning environment going. General manager Steve Keim is a two-time NFL Executive of the Year and head coach Bruce Arians won Coach of the Year as the Cardinals’ head man in 2014.
Being a Cards’ fan definitely took a turn for the better in 2007. There have been more exciting times during the last 10 years then there was during their first 19 campaigns in the Valley of the Sun. The club has a very good chance of being a playoff contender for the upcoming season as well.
Let the good times roll.