Worst coaching hire in franchise history still haunting the Arizona Cardinals

Steve Wilks continues to trample all over an Arizona Cardinals franchise that gave him a golden opportunity to be an NFL head coach back in 2018.
Arizona Cardinals v Green Bay Packers
Arizona Cardinals v Green Bay Packers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Five years have passed since Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill made a monumental mistake. Steve Wilks, an unheralded NFL assistant, was hired to be the head coach of the Redbirds. It was a fantastic opportunity for the incompetent Wilks that has turned into an absolute nightmare for Bidwill ever since.

This past week, Wilks testified that he was given a burner phone to communicate with Steve Keim during the ex-GM's DUI suspension back in 2018. In doing so, the ungrateful defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers basically threw Bidwill and his Cardinals organization under the bus. It's a peculiar way for Wilks to show his appreciation to a franchise that handed him such a coveted job back in '18.

It was obvious from the get-go that Wilks was in over his head as Arizona's on-the-field leader. The North Carolina native made things even worse by surrounding himself with one of the most unequipped coaching staffs in league history. The Cards stumbled to an ugly 3-13 record, and Wilks was fired immediately after the squad lost four consecutive matchups to end the season.

Steve Wilks is still flinging mud at an Arizona Cardinals franchise that is probably sorry they hired him

The testimony regarding the burner phones isn't the first time that Wilks has publicly attacked his former employer. In February of 2022, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL, citing the lack of minority head coaches in the league. A few months later, Wilks joined the campaign, claiming that the Cardinals had used him as a "bridge coach", and had no interest in keeping him around in 2019.

It's kind of baffling that the remaining 31 clubs who didn't hand Wilks a golden opportunity get a pass. That includes his beloved Carolina Panthers, the team who elected to move on from the supposed defensive guru after he posted a 6-6 mark as the squad's interim head coach last fall. Many believed that Wilks had earned the right to take over on a full-time basis, but Carolina spurned him by choosing Frank Reich to do the job instead.

At this point, Arizona is probably wishing that Wilks will just go away. That won't happen in 2023, due to the fact that the 54-year-old is now leading a division rival's (49ers) defense. The hope is that Wilks will one day decide to keep Bidwill's name out of his mouth, and quit slandering a Cards franchise that made him a very rich man by hiring him.