Arizona Cardinals Week 17 matchup disproves the “meaningless game” theory

It goes without saying that Jonathan Gannon’s departure from the Philadelphia Eagles to coach the Arizona Cardinals was bitter and controversial.

Arizona Cardinals v Chicago Bears
Arizona Cardinals v Chicago Bears / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon left Philadelphia for the desert nearly 11 months ago, and it served as a bitter ending to what was a successful tenure as the Eagles defensive coordinator. And yep, “successful” is the appropriate adjective here. We know this because had Gannon not been a great coach in Philadelphia, he wouldn’t be in Glendale trying to help turn around one of the NFL’s most downtrodden teams. 

However, since the Super Bowl didn’t end in the Eagles favor, and Gannon took the heat for the loss before he arrived in the desert, this game will likely mean a lot for the Cardinals head coach as he returns to the city he called home for a couple of seasons. Given the bitterness this game will surely bring, mainly between the Eagles fans and Gannon, it serves as yet another reminder that meaningless games, even for a 3-12 football team, are nothing more than myths. 

Week 17 game will mean a lot for Jonathan Gannon and the Arizona Cardinals

Look for the Cardinals to play their best brand of football for their head coach (or at least better than what they gave in Chicago), regardless of who’s healthy and who will be sitting his one out. The Cards could be 0-15 at this point, and still, this would be a game on the schedule that they will look forward to playing more than any other because of the backstory. 

This isn’t to say that Gannon or the Cardinals will make a big deal of this upcoming matchup to the media, as questions will surely be asked. Don’t expect much talking from Glendale before the game, and insistence that they will treat this matchup like any other - this is professional football, after all. 

But when the whistle sounds to signal the opening kickoff, that’s when the adrenaline will kick in and the so-called “meaningless game” for the Arizona Cardinals will evaporate. Regardless of their record, this game will hold meaning for the Cards and head coach Jonathan Gannon and the Redbirds, whether they want to admit it or not. 

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Source: You've Got Mail: Eagles Week by Darren Urban, AZCardinals.com