To: Michael Bidwill and Steve Keim
From: Walter Mitchell and Fed Up Old Time Birdgangers Across the Globe
RE: “We Won’t Get Fooled Again”
For those of you who are life-long fans of The Who—-this video of their live recording of “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” at Shepperton Studios in 1978 is vintage Peter Townshend and Roger Daltrey—-and sadly this was iconic drummer Keith Moon’s final performance. Here, have a look:
We’ll be fighting in the streets—-With our children at our feet—-And the morals that they worship will be gone—-And the men who spurred us on—-Sit in judgement of all wrong—-They decide and the shotgun sings the song
I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution—-Take a bow for the new revolution—-Smile and grin at the change all around—-Pick up my guitar and play—-Just like yesterday—-Then I’ll get on my knees and pray—-We don’t get fooled again
The change, it had to come—-We knew it all along—-We were liberated from the fold, that’s all—-And the world looks just the same—-And history ain’t changed’—-Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war
I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution—-Take a bow for the new revolution—-Smile and grin at the change all around—-Pick up my guitar and play—-Just like yesterday—-Then I’ll get on my knees and pray—-We don’t get fooled again, no, no
I’ll move myself and my family aside—-If we happen to be left half alive—-I’ll get all my papers and smile at the sky—-Though I know that the hypnotized never lie—-Do ya?
There’s nothing in the streets—-Looks any different to me—-And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye—-And the parting on the leftIs now parting on the right—-And the beards have all grown longer overnight
I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution—-Take a bow for the new revolution—-Smile and grin at the change all around—-Pick up my guitar and playJust like yesterday—-Then I’ll get on my knees and pray—-We don’t get fooled again—-Don’t get fooled again, no no
Meet the new boss—-Same as the old boss
Peter Townshend was surprisingly cynical about revolution—-this song was actually inspired while The Who were playing their 5 am set on Day 2 at Woodstock. Just as they were starting to get cranked up, 60’s activist Abbie Hoffman stormed onto the stage and grabbed the microphone in an effort to rally the crowd toward “the cause” for social and political revolution.
Let’s just say that Peter Townshend was not happy with the interruption. Here is what he said afterward: “Leave me out of it. I don’t think you lot would be any better than the other lot!,’ All those hippies wandering about thinking the world was going to be different from that day. As a cynical English arsehole I walked through it all and felt like spitting on the lot of them, and shaking them and trying to make them realize that nothing had changed and nothing was going to change.”
No wonder the song ends with “Meet the new boss—-same as the old boss.”
But—-as time has worn on—-Townshend’s attitude toward revolution and this song itself has evolved—-he has recognized that so many of the band’s fans across the globe cling to this song as an anthem for revolution and change—-and based on the fact that after all of these years The Who still tends to end their concerts with this song—-a fundamental and critical change has been made.
The change commenced when The Who played “We Don’t Get Fooled Again” at the “The Concert for New York City” fundraiser following the heinous Twin Towers attacks of September 11, 2001. It was then and there that Peter Townshend and Roger Daltrey willfully omitted the last line of the original song: “Meet the same boss, same as the old boss.”
To: Michael Bidwill and Steve Keim
Hearing your interviews this week, this song kept popping into my head over and over, like Peter Townshend’s whirly bird strumming.
You see, I and perhaps many other Cardinals’ fans are extremely excited right now about what we hope is a genuine revolution within the Cardinals’ organization.
Last year, Michael and Steve, you made the gutsy move of hiring Kliff Kingsbury as the new head coach and then doing what it took to pair him with his QB of choice, Kyler Murray.
With those bold moves—-a new 21st century era of Cardinals’ football on the offensive side of the ball has emerged—-and this year it was exhilarating to watch in its infant stages.
It not only rekindled some sorely needed faith and excitement from Cardinals’ fans, but it has captured the imaginations of football fans all across the USA and abroad.
However, watching the Cardinals futility on the other side of the ball to the tune of being the worst defense in the NFL was excruciating, particularly when the same mistakes were being made over and over, week to week—-wide open receivers—-easy 3rd down conversions—-quick and immediate surrenders of 4th quarter leads—-making virtually every QB look like Joe Montana—-watching a handful of well paid veterans not even run hard—-
Yes, there were some marked improvements on defense the last three weeks of the season, and it is understandable that, after three years of staff turnover, you have elected to maintain the defensive coaching continuity heading into the 2020 season.
But, quite frankly, to hear you, Michael, make excuses about the defense—-as if the ineptitude of their overall efforts and poor play can actually be attributed to injuries, the falling out of Robert Nkemdiche , Darius Philon, Josh Shaw, D.J. Swearinger, Terrell Suggs and Patrick Peterson (for 13 of the 16 games) for troubling, but different reasons—-should warrant such an irresponsible excuse.
Yes, you and Steve have doubled down on Vance Joseph—-but any time the defense is allowing easy wide open passes and a hand full of the players are running at half speed, when they are running at all, it is an undeniably poor reflection of the coaching.
I think we all want to believe in Vance Joseph—-but—-just to be good and safe, why haven’t you added a defensive mentor to the staff?
I am just a former high school football coach, but if I was in your shoes, Steve, last season, I would have had Vance Jospeh in my office every week to ask him why in the world are so many receivers wide open? Why aren’t you double teaming TEs, when half the time you aren’t even single covering them? Why can’t you get your unit off the field 3rd downs? Let me see your game plans.
I would have issued a mandate to him as early as Week 4—-get your pass coverages straight—-no more wide open receivers no matter what it takes. And no more half baked efforts for any player on the defense, no matter who he is. Bench guys—-do whatever it takes.
I imagine Steve that you met with Vance—but whatever you were saying to him was not having a discernible impact on the next week’s game, unless you didn't really start talking to Vance until Week 15.
Thus—-please please please get a defensive guru in the building who can mentor Vance Joseph. The Raiders snagged Rod Martinelli—-and thankfully that’s why we now have Brentson Buckner back. But Buck has never coordinated a defense. Heck, one of the best defensive gurus in the NFL, Mike Zimmer, just hired the venerable Dom Capers as a defensive assistant. Why in the world we he do that? Think about it.
Not only were there technical issues with Vance Joseph, there were motivational issues. If a coach can’t get some of the established veterans to at least play hard, what does that tell you?
Kliff Kingsbury had no problems with motivational issues on offense, save for RB David Johnson. But, at least Kingsbury had the cajones to bench D.J. And, Steve, you helped him do that by trading for Kenyan Drake. But, it’s too bad that Kliff and you couldn’t get the kind of late season renaissance from David Johnson that you finally got from Patrick Peterson. Imagine if D.J. had returned to form the last three weeks and the positive vibe that it would be bringing to the 2020 equation.
Steve, you said at the end of the season that you have an exciting plan for the off-season.
Yet, when you unveiled significant parts of those plans Friday to Doug and Wolf, that included deeming that LT D.J. Humphries is “one of the best tackles in the NFL” and a player that you have made it a priority to re-sign (with Michael Bidwill even mentioning the franchise tag as a possibility), there are good reasons why none of the major free agent pundits have Humphries listed as one of the top free agent tackles (many of them even have the Steelers’ RFA Matt Feiler rated ahead of Humphries)—-and even your analysts at PFF have Humphries rated as the #52 ranked UFA behind 4 other tackles (17-Castanzo, 21-Conklin, 46-Whitworth, 48-Peters) and by PFF’s metrics they have him with an overall grade of 64.5, which ranks him as the #47 tackle—-this in his one full season after 5 years, having been benched for all of year one and having ended years 2, 3 and 4 on the IR.
Yet, are you really going to spend close to 1⁄3 of the available cap space on D.J. while ignoring the red flags and thus rewarding Humphries with a contract in the $14-15M a year range—-or—-with the f-tag a 2020 salary of $16.4M?
I understand , for sure, Humphries has some real upside—-but after 5 years—-it’s still all about potential with him—-and as Bill Parcells always says, “potential means you haven’t done much of anything yet.”
And speaking of Bill Parcells, he always says, “when a player shows you who he is, believe him.” To hear that you are now engaged in talks to sign Patrick Peterson to an extension, have you considered what kind of a statement this makes to your entire football team?
That a player of Peterson’s magnitude could first ask for a trade, then get busted for a PED and coverup violation, then go on a two day social media hissy fit disparaging the Cardinals when you wouldn’t restructure his contract so that he could get paid during the 6 week suspension, then come back to the team in Week 7 lethargic and out of shape (for which you offered excuses) and then actually reward him with a new contract?
You have also indicated that you intend to stick with CB Robert Alford, which means that during the first week of the new NFL year in March, his base salary of $4.5M will be fully guaranteed—-and hey that’s a tough decision because you’ve seen Alford rehabbing and wanting to get back into the mix, but as a pure football decision, the kind of tough decisions that GMs have to make, wouldn’t it be wiser to use that $4.5M to bring in a younger, healthier CB who could be a starter or a key sub package dynamo for the next 3-4 years?
Why is it, Steve, that you are so unbelievably committed to expensive aging veterans, most of whom have medical red flags? Did BA set the standard for that? This penchant of yours looks like another form of croneyism. You take care of the guys you like, whether they are performing up to the highest of standards or not.
You go out of your way to offer the highest praise for Patrick Peterson every chance you get—-but look what you have gotten in return from Peterson the past two years. As great as he can be in coverage and as personable and outgoing as he is, Peterson is a “me first” player who expects his teammates to do his dirty work.
You have said that you have made it clear to Kenyan Drake that you want him back and that you have made him an offer—-to which Michael has indicated, “it takes two to make contract.”
The Drake situation is also draped in red flags. Not only did Drake make it clear during his NFL audition with the Cardinals that he expects the vault to open for him this off-season, why is it that in his 4 years in the NFL, it took him being here in Arizona when David Johnson and Chase Edmonds where injured to emerge as a lead RB? At Alabama and while with the Dolphins for 3 1⁄2 years, Kenyan Drake settled into the role as a complimentary RB. Could it be that’s what he reverts to again once he gets his money?
Like you said, Steve, a team can’t just go with one RB—-it typically needs 3. You are right about David Johnson—-in no way should the team release him. You listed all of the reasons why D.J. is still a major talent.
The question now is—-can you guys coach David Johnson up, or not? The way you talked about him made it sound that he will no longer be the lead RB, especially if you re-sign Kenyan Drake, but—-let me ask you this—-who was better—-David Johnson for 16 games in 2016 or Kenyan Drake for 8 games in 2019?
if the question is as rhetorical as I think it is—-you don’t need to over-spend on Kenyan Drake. You and the Cardinals need to be rewarded on your huge investment in David Johnson. Instead of Drake, why not draft a RB or sign a less expensive free agent to add him into the group with Johnson and Edmonds.
The thought of spending over $20M of the available cap space on D.J. Humphries and Kenyan Drake is very difficult to get excited about because it would be another example of the Cardinals acting out of desperation in paying some players more than what they actually deserve.
Especially this year—-with such key positions to fill on the defense.
Steve, you richly deserve to be commended for your hiring of Sean Kugler and Brian Natkin and there are strong reasons to believe that they can keep improving the offensive line with the addition of a new LT and C.
Signing and then re-signing TE Maxx Williams is a feather in your cap as is your acquisition of TE Dan Arnold, who is a promising young talent. Plus, there is still great promise with regard to your 2019 draft picks, especially now that the coaching staff so dedicated to player development.
There are ample reasons to believe that Kyler Murray, Byron Murphy, Andy Isabella, Zach Allen, Hakeem Butler, Jalen Thompson, Deionte Thompson, KeeSean Johnson, Lamont Gaillard, Joshua Miles and Michael Dogbe will be significant contributors to the team’s success in 2020 as staters and/or role players.
You deserve high praise for hiring and sticking with Jeff Rodgers as the ST coach and for hitting home runs with the likes of Andy Lee, Aaron Brewer, Zane Gonzalez, Trent Sherfield, Dennis Gardeck and Zeke Turner. Thank you for helping to bring the “special” in special teams back.
The youth movement on the Cardinals is extremely exciting. Instead of reaching back into the past for aging veterans—-please Steve, keep building the youth of this football team. Sign free agents ages 25-27 who are heading into their prime on second contracts and avoid those who have outpriced themselves or have medical red flags.
When you said you have an exciting off-season plan, building to the youth of the team is what I and likely many others were hoping for.
But to be honest—-after listening to Michael Bidwill and you unveil aspects of your off-season plan, I felt such a profound sense of anxiety to the point where I started thinking:
“Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We won’t get fooled again
Meet the new boss—-same as the old boss.”
Like Peter Townshend and Roger Daltrey—-I am hoping, Michael and Steve, that you will give Cardinals’ fans everywhere the inspiration to omit the last line of the song and change it to:
“Meet the new boss—-so much better than the old boss.”
P.S. Thank you Gungus for checking in on my mental health on Twitter yesterday. I am sure that you saw this op-ed coming.