The failed attempt at landing Sean Payton brings back memories of how the Arizona Cardinals whiffed on Andy Reid back in 2013.
Longtime fans of the Arizona Cardinals were far from surprised this past Tuesday when it was announced that Sean Payton would not be the next head coach of the team. After all, it wasn’t the first time (and likely won’t be the last) that the Cards organization was spurned by a high-profile candidate.
Ten years ago, the Redbirds were on the lookout for someone who could take over for the departed Ken Whisenhunt. The Georgia native had done a respectable job, and had managed to lead the 2008 squad to the only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. The search for Whisenhunt’s replacement was underway, and it became apparent rather quickly that Arizona owner Michael Bidwill would be looking to make a splash with his next hire.
ESPN reported with “95 percent” certainty that the next head coach of the Cardinals was going to be Andy Reid. The offensive guru had enjoyed an impressive 14-year stint as the leader of the Philadelphia Eagles, but was let go after a 4-12 season. Philly made nine playoff runs under Reid, featuring five trips to the NFC Championship and a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Needless to say, many Cards enthusiasts were intrigued. The type of success that Reid enjoyed with the Eagles was foreign to the club’s followers. At long last, Arizona had a chance of joining the NFL’s elite after decades of mostly-losing football.
Andy Reid spurned Arizona Cardinals to join a well-respected AFC franchise
Unfortunately, Reid spurned the Cardinals for a gig with the Kansas City Chiefs. Newly-appointed general manager Steve Keim then pivoted to Bruce Arians. That turned out to be an outstanding acquisition, but there are indications that “Big Red” could’ve benefited even more from the presence of Reid.
The Chiefs have made it to the postseason nine times in the 10 seasons that Reid has been at the helm. With the help of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Reid finally hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy when Kansas City defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. The pair engineered another championship bid the following year, but suffered a 31-9 loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.
On February 12th, Reid and the Chiefs will take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. Whether the 64-year-old could’ve worked the same magic with Arizona as he did with both of those franchises is up for debate. We’ll never know what might have been if prominent coaches like Reid and Payton continue to take a pass on the Cardinals.