Back in 2015, Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals was on top of the football world. The club’s general manager, fresh off of back-to-back “NFL Executive of the Year” awards, had just been handed a four-year contract extension. The Cardinals had compiled an impressive 21-11 won-loss record during Keim’s first two years as the top decision-maker, and were looking forward to even more good fortune going forward.
Six years have now passed, and Keim is still in control of the Arizona roster. The 48-year old has maintained his position, despite the fact that the Cards have endured five consecutive playoff-less campaigns. Has the organization’s postseason drought finally placed Keim on the hot seat in 2021?
The truth of the matter is, Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill has afforded Keim an incredibly-long leash since the squad’s last playoff appearance. That contest took place at the end of the 2015 schedule, when former coach Bruce Arians led Arizona all the way to the NFC Championship game. Since then, the team has put together a 31-47-2 record, a mark that more than likely would’ve put a fair amount of the league’s GMs on the unemployment line.
Keim got a major pass from Cards ownership in January of 2019, when former head coach Steve Wilks was fired after just one year. The 2018 season, with that coaching staff running the show, was a disaster from start to finish. Wilks was hand-picked by Keim, but the franchise’s top personnel evaluator was forgiven for making that horrendous mistake.
The executive’s effort to right the ship has fallen at the feet of Kliff Kingsbury, the offensive guru who honed his coaching skills at the college level. Unfortunately for Keim, the jury is still out on the 41-year old Kingsbury. In his first two seasons in the desert, the former Texas Tech University head man has won just 13 of his first 32 games as the Cards on-field leader.
Kingsbury’s group probably should’ve qualified for the postseason tournament this past fall, but a disheartening late-year collapse prevented that from happening. Some would say that Keim is partly responsible for that failure, others may argue he’s not. One thing’s for sure, anything short of a trip to the playoffs in 2021 could quite possibly end Keim’s stint as the general manager of the Cardinals.