PHOTO CAPTION—-Steelers’ OLB T.J. Watt celebrates his end zone interception behind his throng of euphoric Steeler fans.
This latest Cardinals/Steelers game was a serendipitous bonanza for the Arizona hotel, restaurant and tourism industry.
Steelers fans from far and wide, by filling, swirling and flushing State Farm Stadium with a sea of yellow towels gave the state of Arizona what amounted to be an NFL style Fiesta Bowl 20 days before the real NCAA Fiesta Bowl between Ohio State and Clemson on December 28th.
The Cardinals principal owner and team president Michael Bidwill, as a long-standing board member of the Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL), the organization run by of region’s top business and civic leaders, must have been thrilled about the revenue this week’s NFL Fiesta Bowl brought to the Valley.
Hey—-if his team is going to field a product that would induce the Red Sea (which Dan Bickley described yesterday as a “myth”)—-to sell their tickets to rabid Steelers fans so that they could turn State Farm Stadium into their western version of Heinz Stadium—-hey, why not generate a stunning cash bonanza for the GPL.
Hooray—the Cardinals even closed the roof—-thus the Steelers’ chants of “D-FENCE, D-FENCE” while the Cardinals had the ball were twice as loud.
The Cardinals were great hosts and took very good care of the Steelers’ fans.
After all—-good business is good business.
So what if one of the rare, loyal Cardinals’ season ticket holders who dared to attend the game was pushed and shoved by a drunken Steelers’ fan after being kindly asked not to obstruct her view by waving his towel right in front of her face during the plays.
So what if an incensed 25 year ticket holder for Cardinals’ games declared after the game that he would never purchase another set of tickets.
After all, it’s no big deal, because there are fans from the opposing teams lined up to buy the tickets—-and, plus—-the fans from opposing teams can offer something that Cardinals fans can’t—-opposing fans are able, willing and eager to pay for a weekend’s worth of hotels, restaurants and the tour at the Desert Botanical Garden.
So what if Bidwill and GM Steve Keim try to assure the Cardinals’ fans that “we are committed to bringing you a product on the field that you can be proud of.”
So what if a handful the Cardinals’ own high profile, generously paid veteran players are “stealing” from the club by running at half speed during the games and then “stealing” away from the locker room to avoid the media after the games like a swarm of cockroaches.
So what if the Cardinals’ home record the past two years is now 2-13.
Hey, Cardinals’ fans should be happy today that most of the team actually tried this week and didn’t roll over and play possum the way they did last week during the 34-7 battering the team and its fans took at the curled horns of the Rams. Right?
And, last week, when Cardinals fans like myself and thousands of others cried out to and implored Michael Bidwill to make big, new exciting changes at GM and defensive coordinator—-to change this culture once and for all—-we were scolded and admonished by a number of the indignant Arizona media stalwarts who insist in keeping the status quo—-because, after all, no one worth their weight in salt would ever want to work here and—-after all, any changes that Bidwill could make would likely be worse than what he already has in place.
So what that a number of the current Cardinals’ players like Kyler Murray, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Chandler Jones, Jordan Hicks and Budda Baker are playing their hearts out—-it will never matter until all of the players play their hearts out collectively as a team.
So what that if you are drafted by the current front office the chances are slim to none (and slim is flying home to Pittsburgh) that you will ever be offered a respectable multi-year 2nd contract—-even though when you sign your rookie contract with the personalized Arizona Cardinals’ pen they give you—-Michael Bidwill will shake your hand, as he always does, and say, ‘I hope this is the first of many contracts you sign with the Cardinals.”
So what if your biggest incentive for playing well with the Cardinals is to land a lucrative contract on one of the other 31 NFL teams who will value you far more than the Cardinals ever will.
So what if playing in Arizona is just an audition.
So what if some of your rare teammates who actually received a lucrative 2nd contract with the Cardinals are suddenly not playing hard and expecting you to do all the tackling.
This is a business.
And as businesses go—-the Cardinals’ organization and the Arizona hotel and tourism industry are working diligently hand in hand to do what’s ideal for the economy—-by raking in millions and millions of dollars.
Three cheers for the real winner in town—-the GPL.