The Arizona Cardinals have a Michael Bidwill problem

The Arizona Cardinals historical struggles start at the top.
Arizona Cardinals Introduce Jonathan Gannon as Head Coach
Arizona Cardinals Introduce Jonathan Gannon as Head Coach / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

When it comes to struggling franchises, fans like to cast the blame at anyone and everyone. “The coach has to be fired,” and, “you can’t win with this quarterback,” are common refrains.

The Arizona Cardinals are a team with perpetual dysfunction and the franchise has cycled through quarterbacks and coaches attempting to find a stabilizer, to little sustained success. At a certain point, one has to look at the common denominator, and that is Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill.

ESPN posted an article on Wednesday ripping into Michael Bidwill’s leadership style. This is already the second time this subject has been covered this season. The post revealed that Michael Bidwill “unleashed a profanity laced tirade” at Cardinals executive vice president Ron Minegar for a drunk driving incident in 2019. He put Minegar on public display and berated him in front of Arizona Cardinals employees.

The criticism levied against Bidwill is his lack of professionalism in handling such a sensitive situation

A witness said “It felt he was putting Ron up on a stake in front of everybody.” This is just one complaint in a recent string that have become unearthed as more of the organizational culture of the Arizona Cardinals is unveiled by various media outlets. Michael Bidwill has been linked to tampering in his recruitment of Jonathan Gannon, which needlessly cost the Arizona Cardinals in the draft.

Terry McDonough, the team’s former vice president of player personnel, has levied several complaints against the Arizona Cardinals organization including discrimination and misconduct. ESPN shares that Bidwill allegedly used a burner phone to communicate with former general manager Steve Keim while he was suspended for a drunk driving arrest in 2018. The Arizona Cardinals organization denies McDonough’s allegations.

The Arizona Cardinals are a dysfunctional franchise not primarily because of poor coaching or because of poor quarterback play; these are merely the symptoms of fundamentally bad ownership. Since Dan Snyder’s ouster as owner of the Washington Commanders it seems that Michael Bidwill has taken up the new mantel of worst owner in the NFL. Under his leadership, Michael Bidwill has fostered an environment that employees describe as “abusive and intimidating, in part due to a fear of the owner’s unpredictable tirades.”

When leadership is poor it permeates throughout the organization. A basic lack of communication and trust makes it impossible to operate a business, especially as one as cutthroat and competitive as the NFL. This, of course, spreads onto the football field and provides one explanation for the Arizona Cardinals inconsistent on-field performance since Michael Bidwill took over from his father, Bill Bidwill.

Look no further than the NFLPA report card for the Cardinals, which ranked them overall the 2nd worst team in providing accommodations for its players. The Arizona Cardinals received an F or lower for five of the eight metrics that the NFLPA measured (treatment of families, food service, weight room, training room, and locker room).

Little has been presented to suggest that the Arizona Cardinals are anything other than rotten at the core. Those who are fans of the Arizona Cardinals and want to see success in the future should look to hold leadership accountable. Should more reports of the Arizona Cardinals toxic workplace culture come to light, it is possible that Michael Bidwill’s ouster as owner of the Arizona Cardinals will become a real topic of conversation.