After a 32-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the 1-5 Arizona Cardinals found more ways to lose. On Sunday, it was a case of mistakes and big plays. However, they were able to stay in the game and keep it close for most of the game. They scored a touchdown to pull the score to 17-14 and had momentum, but were unable to get a stop defensively on the ensuing Pittsburgh drive.
As frustrating a game it was for the fans, apparently it was frustrating for the players to deal with a stadium that had thousands of Pittsburgh Steelers fans, obviously the result of the 1-4 start after some somewhat lofty expectations in the NFC West. Reserve safety Hamza Abdullah vented his frustration on Twitter after the game.
It raises an important question -- how much should the fans be expected to pick up their team and how much is it on the team to fire up the fans?
This is a touchy subject for fans. To watch a football game, they have to shell out big money to watch at the stadium. Many should question why a fan should have to be responsible for being the ones to inspire players who are paid millions of dollars to entertain those who attend.
At the same time, athletes do in fact feed off the crowd. Abdullah is right in that. Home-field advantage is a huge weapon. The Cardinals did not have it.
It cuts to the core of Arizona sports fans. The culture here is to be very passionate when given a reason to do so and when there is hope for a reason to do so. Why is that?
Specifically for the Cardinals, fans have suffered for almost the entire history of the Cardinals in Arizona and forced to watch absolutely terrible teams. There is no history of hope. When there is no hope, there is no expectation of passion. There are thousands of fans waiting and hoping for a reason to be passionate. That is why the second there is a flicker of hope, it looks like a crowd of bandwagon fans.
Honestly, only the Phoenix Suns have the history to create that sort of passion that the team can be inspired from. Unfortunately, even those fans have started to wane in their passion because of the overall mediocrity.
That is just the reality of Arizona fans. The culture requires a reason to cheer. A 1-4 start after having expectations of competitiveness sucks all the passion out.
Abdullah is out of line for calling out the fans. They pay good money to cheer or not cheer. He needs to worry about making plays. I understand frustration, but to publicly decry his disappointment in the home crowd is disappointing. He did nothing to help.
However, in his defense, he followed it up with the way he should have -- in fact, it was perfect. He is offering to help the crowd situation by bringing true Cardinals fans to the next game.
I think it is a necessary save to his previous tweets.
What say you? Are the fans to blame for the loss? Do we need to do more for a team that has given very little to cheer for? Should he never have said anything? Or is there something to say on both ends?
If someone has the answer, then I highly recommend that that person become a consultant to the local teams. It would earn that person gobs of money.