Back in January of this year, Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon was a very popular man in the "City of Brotherly Love". The Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator was the toast of the town, thanks to his unit's annihilation of the San Francisco 49ers offense in the NFC Championship Game. Gannon's Eagles knocked both Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson out of the contest, and proceeded to hold one of the league's most-potent scoring attacks to a measly seven points.
Just 11 months have passed since those fantastic days for Gannon in Philly, but things have changed drastically. A mere two weeks after thrashing the Niners, the Eagles yielded 17 fourth-quarter points en route to a 38-35 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII. There was plenty of blame to go around on that particular Sunday, but much of the responsibility for the heartbreaking defeat fell at the feet of Gannon.
The anger of the Eagles fans reached an even higher level two days after the Super Bowl when Gannon accepted the head job with the Cardinals. Moments after defeating San Francisco just nine days before, the 40-year old told a reporter that he was staying in Philly. Obviously, that proclamation turned out to be false, and the Philadelphia fanbase felt lied to.
The Arizona Cardinals will do battle in front of crowd that loathes their head coach
With Gannon now firmly on their hit list, the Eagles faithful invented yet another reason to have disdain for the Cards new coach. Reports surfaced back in April that Arizona general manager Monti Ossenfort had broken the league's tampering guidelines in regards to hiring the Cleveland native. Ossenfort and Gannon spoke just days after Philadelphia's NFC Championship victory, a discussion that was a no-no in the eyes of the NFL's rule makers.
Eagles backers took that infraction as an excuse to hold Gannon even more accountable for the squad's Super Bowl collapse. There was a strong belief that the defensive coordinator was distracted by the thought of taking his coaching career to the next level with the Redbirds. No one knows for sure what was in the assistant's head at the time, but it's somewhat ludicrous to think that the potential job in Arizona affected Gannon's preparation for the Chiefs.
This coming Sunday, Gannon will lead his squad into Philly's hostile Lincoln Financial Field. The stakes will be high for the playoff-bound Eagles, but not so much for the 3-12 team from the desert. Nevertheless, the Cardinals can play the role as a spoiler, and Gannon would like nothing to better than to ruin New Year's Eve for a Philadelphia crowd that prefers to view him as a villain.