Both teams had openings to begin the 2013 NFL off season.
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Arizona Cardinals were amongst the worst teams in pro football following the 2012 season. Each owner opted to part ways with their long time general managers and head coaches with the hopes of bringing in offensive minded replacements.
New blood was needed.
That hiring period was one for the ages. It of course ended with Arizona lucking into one Bruce Arians.
Most remember that.
What many may forget, however, was a report roughly two weeks before the Arians’ hire. It came via top NFL Insider Adam Schefter:
At the time, this set Cardinal fans and media alike into a frenzy. Reid was as well respected as they come in the NFL, despite his lack of Super Bowl hardware.
More than anything, he was an offensive guru capable of turning around the likes of Kevin Kolb (who he had previously sent to the desert).
Alas, you know by now that the Cardinals were never able to officially conduct an interview with Reid. They allowed the ultra aggressive Kansas City ownership to leapfrog ahead of them for Reid’s services.
Leap frog...now where have I heard that before?
Well lets fast forward ahead four years with both franchises. Each team has several playoff appearances to their credit, but both appear to know their current trajectories aren’t sustainable.
Arizona was old and Kansas City was limited.
The ceilings had been hit with Carson Palmer and Alex Smith.
To his credit, Reid saw what few could not in Mahomes. That he was a generational talent that would go on to revolutionize modern NFL football.
Mahomes is on track to become the league’s first 200 million dollar player.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals stood pat and took DE Haason Reddick at pick 13th. Entering what will be his fourth season with the team, Arizona leadership does not expect to pick up his fifth year option.
Seven months later, while Kansas City and Reid were preparing to venture ahead with the young Mahomes (for what would be his 2018 MVP campaign), Arizona was watching a Bruce Arians retirement press conference.
Arizona did not have a young, transformative signal caller to reenergize the suddenly burnt out Arians.
Five months later, the cap capstrapped Arizona Cardinals were forced to cut standout safety Tyrann Mathieu thanks to his upcoming $18.75 salary for 2018.
That money would of course go toward the signing of starting QB Sam Bradford, who netted $20 million guaranteed in 2018. Bradford was Arizona’s answer for the departing Carson Palmer.
Two seasons later, in his first season with the Reid and the Chiefs, the Honey Badger would regain his All Pro status.
And while the Reid/Mahomes/Mathieu combination has spearheaded Kansas City to Miami for Super Bowl 54 (all of which are loosely connected to the Arizona Cardinals), I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out April of 2016.
Arizona was riding high following their 2015 NFC Title game appearance, and were picking 29th in April’s NFL Draft. The front office, knowing an eventual divorce was impending with standout DT/DE Calais Campbell, seemingly took advantage of the loaded defensive line class with their first pick.
Eight picks later, the next defensive tackle would be selected. A player in which the Cardinals supposedly strongly considered but opted against in favor of the higher ceiling Nkemdiche.
So Chris Jones would end up a Chief.
As we sit here, six years following January 2013 in which the Cardinals let Andy Reid slip away, what can we take away from all of this?
Lets start with KC.
Well for starters, Reid has yet to post a losing record for the Chiefs. He’s has dominated both on and off the field when it comes to finding and elevating personnel.
While the majority of attention will go toward this 2019 Super Bowl team, Reid’s 2018 Chiefs were the fourth most productive offensive team in NFL history
What about Arizona?
After the Arians tenure, the Cardinals have gone back to their losing culture.
Similar to KC with Reid, the Cardinals did set records offensively in 2018. The Steve Wilks’ led redbirds, with some help from then OC Mike McCoy, ochastrated one of the worst offenses in NFL history. The unit scored an abysmal 225 total points, which was good for just over 14 points per game.
So now the Cardinals and Steve Keim are on their third coach in six seasons. A coach that was hired for his past successes with that of Patrick Mahomes. A coach that was hampered by a poor defense in 2019 thanks to subpar play at both CB/FS and defensive line.
Best of luck to Andy Reid, Mahomes, Tyrann and free agent to be Chris Jones come Super Bowl 54.
Life’s funny sometimes.