Progressive, in football terms, is not normally a word historically associated with the Arizona Cardinals.
If anything, the Cardinals have been well behind league trends which has absolutely hampered them in their pursuit of a Lombardi trophy.
Targeting retread coaches and older players has long been a running joke associated with Arizona.
From Emmitt Smith to Sam Bradford, Dennie Green and Mike McCoy, the Cardinals are not normally trend setters in the NFL.
Generally they are playing catchup.
Which was why their decision to pivot off Josh Rosen after his lone rookie season in favor of Kyler Murray was so refreshing (given the benefit of hindsight).
Another move that has since drawn praise was the hiring of head coach Kliff Kingsbury as opposed to that of Adam Gase (retread). Kingsbury was plucked straight from the collegiate ranks while Gase had a sample of NFL success as a head coach.
Arizona has also benefited from an increase in analytics within their scouting department, which earned rave reviews following their 2019 draft class.
Yes, their 2019 season still saw the redbirds finish below .500 but renewed excitement within the Cardinals has only been fueled by a slew of savvy offseason moves by General Manager Steve Keim.
NFL Network’s Peter Schrager even predicted Arizona as a preferred destination for players way back in early February.
With all of this excitement and optimism surrounding the Arizona Cardinals, perhaps the team can pivot to another feature that has plagued the Cardinals and their fanbase for years.
The team uniforms.
The Arizona Cardinals have had their current set of uniforms since 2005, a year before opening what is now known as State Farm Stadium.
For the time, the uniforms were a welcomed change from the standard set that then sported the Arizona state flag. However, time has not been kind to Arizona’s current set of uniforms as they are often ranked near the bottom when compared to their 31 NFL counterparts.
Following the 2009 season, the Cardinals added an alternative black jersey that seemingly allowed for a grace period while we all awaited whole sale changes. While the addition was welcomed, the black jersey itself doesn’t really fit the rest of what remains from the ensemble they debuted back in 2005. This blurb via Bleacher Reports’ “Worst Uniforms in the History of Every NFL Team” says it all:
“The problem with the entire set is that it clearly doesn’t match. The cardinal bird itself has red feathers. Only a little part of its head has black. Other than that, black doesn’t really fit. The helmet looks out of place with the entire uniform set.”
As we sit here in 2020, with a new era of Cardinal football upon us, it’s clear that Michael Bidwill and company need to make a statement. A statement that alludes excitement in the form of a complete overhaul of their current Sunday attire.
But don’t listen to me, rather, take it from the team’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year starting quarterback:
Does that only include the jersey and pants? I’m not sure. I for one appreciate the look of the all white helmet but am open to anything at this point.
Adapt or die. It’s been 15 years.
Arizona does not have the benefit of a “classic look” like that of the Steelers, Cowboys or Packers. NFL royalty earns that because of their long history of success, something that does not follow our Cardinals.
Now you could argue that, in their current group of uniforms , Arizona has had the most success ever in franchise history.
And you wouldn’t be wrong.
Since 2005, the Cardinals only have seven losing seasons while capturing multiple division titles and a NFC Championship. The bar was raised by Michael Bidwill during that period, and kudos to him for making that happen.
It’s time to raise the bar again.
Similar to what the Seattle Seahawks did in 2012 when they were ushering in a new era of football that included an exciting young rookie quarterback, they overhauled their uniforms.
What followed in 2013 was their first Super Bowl title.
This didn’t discredited what other eras in Seahawk history had done ala their 2005 Super Bowl appearance. What it did do was signify a new era that was brimming with promise.
The Cardinals need to follow suit.
Now is the time to adapt. Now is the time to upgrade.
Perhaps a Super Bowl title will follow.