Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cardinals continue to prove that they’re no joke

Note: This column appears in the 10/16 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 10/17 issue of the Peoria Times

As many of you may have noticed by now, the purpose of this column is less to inform than it is to entertain. Whether or not it is working is up to you to decide, but I can only hope that I haven’t informed anyone of anything.

As for me? I am struggling. For the past two months or so I have been writing about the Arizona Cardinals, and I will continue to do so for the remainder of their season, which hopefully, for Cardinals’ fans, ends later than sooner. But let me tell you something -- for someone who attempts, each week, to add a little dose of humor into a discussion about Cardinals football, this has become quite a challenge.

Why? Because the Cardinals are not funny. (Another reason could be that I am not funny. I will accept both answers.) I was led to believe that this team was comical in its dealings and in its misfortune, but that does not appear to be the case.

For example, there I was late Sunday afternoon, laptop on lap, watching Travis LaBoy unable to limp off the field, as the Cardinals worked on squandering one of the most important victories in franchise history. When Ken Whisenhunt called a timeout before Nick Folk’s kick was blocked, and the result of that flub was overtime, the wheels were turning with column ideas. Maybe I could have someone draw a cartoon picture of Whisenhunt trying to call a timeout seconds before the U.S. hockey team is about to beat Russia! And then, just like that, the Cardinals put the Cowboys away.

What was funny about that? Except, of course, for all the Cowboys fans left stunned in the stadium. Now that was funny. But still.


...H A S N O P I N K Y

It’s not just the games either. The Cardinals’ entire business-like approach makes it near impossible to find the humor. Take Whisenhunt, for example. Had the Cardinals lost on Sunday, there’s no way the head coach would have held an ill-tempered, ill-advised, and thus hilarious post-game press conference, like his predecessor was wont to do. And speaking of press conferences, Raiders’ owner Al Davis gave a doozy of one a few weeks ago, yet we get nothing from the Bidwells. See what I’m working with here?


Now THIS I could work with...


Worse yet, with the insertion and subsequent success of Kurt Warner as starting quarterback, we have been deprived of the various exploits of one Matt Leinart, a column favorite. I tried to Google controversial and funny pictures of Warner, and all that I got were a few picks of him handing out food and supplies to flood victims in his native Iowa. Then I got all inspired and didn’t make a cheap joke for three days. Ugh.

What’s going here? The Cardinals just got finished playing a team that refused to suspend or even discipline its starting defensive back for assaulting his bodyguard at a urinal. The Rams -- last in the league in team defense -- fired their head coach in favor of their defensive coordinator. Even my Giants are bringing the funny -- their star wide receiver was suspended for missing practice because of a “family emergency,” which was later described as taking his son to school. That’s a gold mine of hilarity right there.

Yet the Cardinals bring nothing.

When I moved here about a year and a half ago, I was excited to start writing about the NFL’s laughingstock. Seemed to fit in with my style of not taking anything too seriously. Since then, most of their entertainment value has come on the field, while the rest of business, for the most part, has been conducted professionally and commendably.

This approach keeps leading to wins for the Cardinals, but it’s not helping me out one bit. So until someone gets suspended for taking his daughter to piano lessons -- or at least until somebody gets assaulted at a urinal -- don’t expect much from me.

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