Since the AFL-NFL Merger in 1970, the Arizona Cardinals have played in just two NFC Championship Games and made one Super Bowl. Other than that, they have been one of the NFL’s most historically bad organizations, with just nine playoff appearances, two NFC East titles, and three NFC West championships in the last 54 seasons, so it’s safe to say they are down there with the Detroit Lions.
However, the Lions are finally back in the NFC Championship Game for the first time since Barry Sanders was in the early stages of his prime. This came after we saw the downtrodden Cincinnati Bengals reach a pair of AFC Championship Games, one of which they won and played in their first Super Bowl since the 1980s.
And it wasn’t that long ago when the Kansas City Chiefs were one of the NFL’s most pedestrian organizations, having played in just one AFC Championship Game between 1970 and 2017. From 2018 onward, Kansas City has never missed its respective conference title game.
So, are the Cardinals the next historically bad organization to turn things around for 2024 and beyond? There are three reasons why those in the Red Sea should be optimistic.
Arizona Cardinals could be next historically bad team to turn things around
1 - Culture change
A much-needed culture change has been brewing since general manager Monti Ossenfort hired Jonathan Gannon as head coach. Gannon has brought a hard-nosed, no-nonsense mentality to the Cardinals locker room early, and despite the poor record this season, you would have thought they had a playoff spot on the line considering how hard the team played in the final two weeks of the season.
Now that we are entering Year 2 of the Gannon Era, the players in town know what to expect, and that culture change will ultimately transform into an organizational identity. That’s something the Cardinals didn’t have during the Steve Wilks and Kliff Kingsbury eras, and it’s also something they lacked at many points in their long history.