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Arizona Cardinals coaching search brings up demons of years past

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The Arizona Cardinals track record of coaches is not one to write home about.

Buddy Ryan Cardinals

For many, the search for another head coach for the Arizona Cardinals is one they are used too.

Since the Cardinals moved to the valley in 1988, the Arizona Cardinals have employed 10 different head coaches (those with interim titles included).

It is this continued change that has been a cause for concern each and every season, and with the Cardinals now in their 31st season in the Arizona, with the hiring of their 11th head coach coming in the near future, the Cardinals find themselves at a crossroads.

Over the last decade, since Ken Whisenhunt was hired and coached for six seasons, the Cardinals have ridden a wave of moderate success.

They have four of their top five scoring seasons under Whiz and BA, they have three of their top five scoring defensive seasons under BA, they have four of the five playoff seasons under Whiz and BA and they have their lone Super Bowl appearance under Whiz.

For 11 years, despite going 94-81-1 in the regular season and only 5-4 in the playoffs, it was prosperous football for the Cardinals.

It was the only time in their history in Arizona they have had sustained success.

For 11 season, despite only making the playoffs in four of those seasons, the Cardinals were respectable.

Now, they sit with a new problem.

The Cardinals under Whiz and BA won 94 games in 11 seasons... Under every other coach, they have won 108 games... Out of 320 games coaches.

While you don’t want to make too much in the way of hyperbole, even in those years from Gene Stallings (12-15) to Dennis Green (16-32), no coach was ever fired after only one season.

In fact, the only full-time coach that got less than three season in that time was Buddy Ryan, who was two and out after going 12-20.

For the Cardinals, they are in foreign territory.

They don’t drop bad coaches, which is all they’ve employed outside of two, early.

In fact, they usually go in the opposite direction and give coaches like Joe Bugel or Dave McGinnis too much time.

It is also interesting to note that the Cardinals, in their entire history of Arizona, have hired only two coaches who were given another head coaching job in the NFL:

Joe Bugel
Ken Whisenhunt

They don’t usually hire good coaches in Arizona. In fact, coming to Arizona pre-Whiz likely meant your entire head coaching career was over.

If Arians doesn’t take the Bucs job, well the narrative may be different for those who pay attention, but the fact will remain only two coaches have gotten another head coaching job in the NFL after Arizona.

That is a stench that is hard to shake.

Now, Michael Bidwill is tasked with continuing to change the narrative of who the Arizona Cardinals are.

They can’t afford to fall back into the past.

Instead, they need Wilks failure to be a lone outlier in the past 12 seasons and that this job, this franchise is one that can be built into a winner with sustained success.

It’s up to Bidwill and Steve Keim now.