- to deceive or get the better of (someone) by trickery, flattery,
- to hoodwink
- to perplex; mystify; confound.
- to practice trickery, deception, cozenage, or the like:
Cardinals’ 2019 Bamboozler of the Year Nominees
2019 has to go down as one of the most secretive years in the history of the Arizona Cardinals. Whole congregations of Cardinals’ fans have been kept in the dark—-it has been like a daily reading of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s chilling short story “The Minister’s Black Veil” and wondering what we will see when Reverend Hooper’s veil is lifted! (see photo)
The question is—-which of the following current or former Cardinals displayed the most cunning sleight of hand and element of surprise (in chronological order)?:
- Bruce Arians coming out of his “retirement” to become the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Patrick Peterson’s social media tirade—-what oh what could the matter be?
- Steve Keim drafting QB Kyler Murray with the #1 pick and subsequently trading QB Josh Rosen.
- Kliff Kingsbury revealing his NFL version of the Air Raid following a vanilla pre-season.
- Vance Joseph and his 34 defensive philosophy.
- WR Michael Crabtree fleecing the Cardinals for $2.25M.
- SS D.J. Swearinger fleecing the Cardinals for $4.3M.
For those of us who never felt BA retired of his own volition—-as early as December last year while working for NBC as a color commentator, he was lobbying for the Browns’ job and then was wooed away by Jason Licht and the Bucs to the tune of a 4 year (plus a 5th year option) contract that is rumored to be in the neighborhood of $24-30M.
All of Cardinals’ nation was held for days and weeks in the dark wondering what could so wrong with Patrick Peterson that he engaged in a social media tirade while deleting his Cardinals’ related photos. As it turned out—-just as the fans found out that Peterson was suspended by the NFL for 6 games sue to PED and masking agent violations—-word eventually came that Peterson was irate that the Cardinals’ brass wouldn’t restructure his contract so that he could be compensated for the money he was going to lose for the suspension.
Adroitly managed to keep the Cards’ hand close to his vest with regard to the team’s choice for the #1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft—-even going to the extent of getting the word out on draft day that the team was engaging in discussions with the agents for DE Nick Bosa and DT Quinnen Williams. Not a soul on planet earth knew for sure that the Cardinals had QB Kyler Murray in their sights all along—-right up to the very second that Roger Goodell announced the pick.
In some ways the Kingsbury Air Raid is still a bit of a mystery because so many other NFL teams over the past few years have been adopting Air Raid plays and concepts—-like the New England Patriots this past Sunday versus the Bills when they ran a number of plays in a 5 receiver (0 backfield-10 formation) spread and sprung a key 4th quarter 31 yard completion from Tom Brady to Josh Gordon on a classic “mesh” play. Weird, but I can’t recall Kingsbury calling the “mesh” (inside crossing routes which act as picks) play that often which actually would help get some of his WRs some separation.
Here is what Vance Joseph had to say about his 34 defensive philosophy heading into the season: “Defending the run does not win games for you,” he elaborated. “Defending the pass game wins you games, in my opinion, in this league, but stopping the run allows you to control the game more often than not.” After 4 games the Cardinals’ defense ranks 31st in the NFL giving up 414 yards per game (142 rushing/372 passing) and 29.2 points per game. truth is, the Cardinals are struggling to stop the run and their pass coverage has been non-existent at times, particularly in covering TEs.
Somehow Michael Crabtree and his agent managed to convince the Cardinals to sign him 10 days before the start of the season—-which—-when he made the Cardinals’ opening day roster—-it ensured that his entire $2.25M was guaranteed. Apparently, Crabtree made little effort to bond with his new team and thus managed to pilfer $2.5 from the Cardinals in a matter of one month’s work (while having the luxury of missing training camp).
Crabtree is the epitome of why NFL GMs are loath to sign veteran players before the season begins. His selfishness is going to cost other, far more deserving veterans the chance to get signed—-at least until the CBA changes the Week 1 roster rule.
As poorly and passively as Swearinger played—-all the while vowing to be a good teammate and not ruffle any feathers like he did in D.C.—-one has to wonder whether this was part of a plan to get released early in the season in order to collect all of the $4.3M in salary he was guaranteed to make from the Cardinals after landing on the Week 1 roster and to use that money as an early retirement nest egg or to bring his A game to a contender with the opportunity to collect added paychecks.
Funny, but after the Cardinals’ woeful week 2 pre-season home loss to the Raiders who came to town with the purpose of exposing and eviscerating the “Pretty Boy” Cardinals, Steve Keim ripped into the Cardinals’ players claiming that many of them “were getting too comfortable.” Swearinger in 3 pre-season starts earned a 41.2 PFF grade and yet Keim and Kingsbury offered high praise for Swearinger—-indicating he wasn’t one of the “too comfy” players they were concerned about.
Here is what Swearinger said the week of the first regular season game: “I’ve just got to be myself, because what I do bring to the table ain’t only going to help Budda Baker, it’s going to help this entire defense and help this entire team. My leadership ability is going to be the key because whenever I see the need to lead, I’ll do that and I expect that from the other leaders as well, man, because we’ve got a long season and last year, the coaching wasn’t right.”
Hmm—-he even took a shot at the former coaching staff—-something he vowed he wouldn’t do after his public berating of the Redskins’ coaching staff.
How’s this for leadership and “helping the entire team”? His PFF game grades were a continuation of his pre-season grades: 47,8, 55.5, 43.5, 53.6 (45.1 average)—-missing 4 tackles (according to PFF, but it was more than that) and giving up 11 receptions in 15 targets for 153 yards (38 RAC yards) and 3 TDs.
So—-in your opinion—-of the 5 candidates—-who is the most deserving winner of the Cardinals 2019 Bamboozler Award?