Decade’s best teams include the 2015 Arizona Cardinals
A recently-published article on NFL.com ranked the 2015 Arizona Cardinals as one of the league’s best squads of the past decade
The Arizona Cardinals front office was on top of it’s game back in 2015. Steve Keim, the club’s general manager, seemed to be making all of the right moves at the time. Despite a disappointing end to the campaign, management had assembled what was perhaps the greatest roster in Cardinals history.
In a recent article on NFL.com, the Cards of ’15 were recognized as one of the top teams of the past decade. The website’s original content editor, Tom Blair, ranked that group of Arizona players as the sixth-best squad of the last 10 years. And it’s quite possible that they could’ve been rated even higher.
The Cardinals of four years ago, led by charismatic head coach Bruce Arians, made it all of the way to the NFC Championship game. Arians’ scoring attack, led by quarterback Carson Palmer, finished as the top-ranked offense of 2015. The signal-caller turned in the best performance of his career, completing 62.9% of his passes for 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Rookie running back David Johnson was almost as dynamic as Palmer in ’15, accounting for 1,038 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns. The great Larry Fitzgerald led all Cards’ pass-catchers with 109 receptions,1,215 receiving yards and nine scores.
Arizona’s defense was a force to be reckoned with back then as well. Defensive end Calais Campbell recorded 61 tackles, five sacks and an outstanding 20 quarterback hits. Cornerback Patrick Peterson was voted to his fifth-consecutive Pro Bowl, while safety Tyrann Mathieu tallied 89 tackles, five interceptions and a whopping 17 passes defensed.
Keim made some brilliant acquisitions that year, signing a bevy of established veterans to one-year “prove-it” contracts. Solid performers like Chris Johnson and Jermaine Gresham were added to the offense. Dwight Freeney, Red Bryant, LaMarr Woodley and Sean Weatherspoon were brought in for the defense.
The Cardinals first-round playoff victory in January of 2016 was one of the most exciting wins in the organization’s history. The Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers miraculously tied the contest at the end of regulation with a “Hail Mary” touchdown throw to Jeff Janis. The Redbirds would emerge victorious by a score of 26-20, however, after some overtime heroics from Fitzgerald and Palmer.
The magnificent campaign ended with a defeat in the NFC title game. The Cards traveled to Carolina, where they were dismantled by Cam Newton and the Panthers. Palmer threw four interceptions during the 49-15 loss, but the franchise’s 14 triumphs were their most-ever in one season.
For the record, the 2013 Seattle Seahawks were voted the decade’s best team in the NFL.com piece. Arizona’s division rival, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, emerged as the winner of Super Bowl XLVIII that year. The Seahawks destroyed the Denver Broncos by a score of 43-8 to claim the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and finished the season with an impressive 16-3 record.