The Christmas season is a time for joy, and also for perspective. Arizona Cardinals fans throughout the Valley are left lamenting the fact that their team will, yet again, miss the playoffs.. To this I say, “Who cares?” For now is the time of the year to appreciate what we have, so as the Cards face-off against them this Sunday, I think it’s time for everyone to be thankful this holiday season that the Arizona Cardinals are NOT, in fact, the Atlanta Falcons.
For all the disappointment inherent in rooting for the franchise that is the Arizona Cardinals, it can be argued that those twenty years of general ineptitude cannot match what the Falcons have accomplished in a mere six months.
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? The Falcons’ star quarterback -- and, to the casual NFL fan, their only recognizable player -- was suspended for the season as a result of being indicted on charges of heading a dog fighting ring. Two weeks ago he was sentenced to almost two years in a federal prison after being found guilty of those charges. So there’s that.
Not foreseeing the possibility that their starting quarterback would go to prison for dog fighting, the Falcons shrewdly traded their backup QB, Matt Schaub, to the Houston Texans before the season began. Said Falcons’ GM Rich McKay, “My bad!” (He didn’t really say that, but still.)
"It looks like this whole 'dog' thing is gonna pass...So we got rid of Schaub"
During the offseason, the Falcons hired head coach Bobby Petrino away from the collegiate ranks of Louisville, awarding him millions of dollars in the process. Petrino’s reputation as an offensive mastermind was supposed to help Michael Vick turn the corner on his career (oops!). Petrino lost control of his team approximately around Week 1, and subsequently resigned after the teams’ Week 13 loss to the Saints, and was introduced as the new head coach at Arkansas later that week. Petrino’s legacy in Atlanta will be refusing to play Jerious Norwood (their potentially game-breaking running back), for being publicly berated on the sidelines by defensive back and famed nut job DeAngelo Hall, and for making Nick Saban look like Mike Krzyzewski. But other than that, it worked out great!
DeAngelo Hall: Backing up his cockiness
Then there’s Joey Harrington. Astonishingly frustrated with Harrington’s performance, the Falcons picked up gimpy QB Byron Leftwich, who somehow managed to play worse than Harrington, forcing the Falcons to awkwardly hand the starting job back to Harrington, who repaid their confidence by playing even worse than before. As of last Sunday, Chris Redman (?) was the starting quarterback, who turned in this stellar line: 4-of-15 passing, for 34 yards, two interceptions and a lost fumble. And yes, he played the entire game.
Arrggghh! Put your hands down...I can't see!
Oh, and the Atlanta Falcons are 3-11, good for last place in the NFC South.
Now, many of you may be saying to yourselves, “Yeah, okay…but do they have Neil Rackers?” And that is just not fair. The fact remains that the Falcons have no coach, no discernable talent with the exception of a few guys who are either crazy or who have yet to fully emerge, and are in general shambles as an organization. When the Cardinals suit up on Sunday, and look across the field, they should have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season, and that is all that really matters.
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Of course, this is not to say that the Cardinals should gift wrap a victory for the Falcons simply out of sympathy. On the contrary, that would be really, really, really bad. No matter what the outcome however, the Cardinals are not going to the playoffs, which definitely stinks. But hey, things could be worse.
They could have hired Bobby Petrino instead.
If this all works out -- and I have no reason to be believe that it won't -- I think this will be the most successful fourteen weeks in Atlanta Falcons' history!