Nearing the top of the list of my favorite and least favorite Cardinals, there are likely names that many will agree with. I imagine that such is the case with these selections. One is perhaps the greatest player ever in the franchise and the other burned a bridge here, not only with the team, but with many fans as well.
Larry Fitzgerald and Simeon Rice are those players.
As for Fitz, do I really need to explain other than why he is not my number one all-time favorite player? Probably not. My explanation for why he is not my absolute favorite is simply because he is too easy to like for everyone and I have some aversion to liking the popular person or thing.
But he is pretty much the perfect guy to have on a team and be the face of the team. He is talented and arguable the best at his position. He is driven to improve (note that he told people at the combine he wanted to be the greatest ever). He is nice. He is a leader. He elevates his game (see Super Bowl run and record-setting performance in the postseason) when it is needed. He doesn't act like a diva. There is not a single thing wrong with him -- and he has been here through thick and thin.
Need I say more?
The other side of this list is the uglier stuff. Simeon Rice angers me to this day. He was an incredible pass rusher. It was what he did really well. I liked that. What made me upset is what he said before leaving town. If you recall, he said that Arizona "was the armpit of the NFL."
I was not real young. I was married by then when he said it, but I grew up here in Arizona. I didn't care that he was probably referring to the team and not the state, the way it came out insulted me as a native of this fine state. Then later he made it a point to downplay Pat Tillman's sacrifice, pointing out how he was not that great a player, thus making it no big deal he left the league.
It would not have mattered if he had come back to the Cardinals and won the team the Super Bowl. I don't think I could ever forgive him as a fan. He is one of a very few players I hold absolute contempt for.
I bet I'm not the only one.