Before reading, if you haven’t seen the latest episode of Flight Plan, check it out below before reading this article.
All done? Great! And now let’s take a look at some of the biggest takeaways of this behind-the-scenes installment brought by the Arizona Cardinals:
#1. Brett Hundley’s got jokes
To open the episode it was fun to see a Kyler/Brett workout comparison (one of which Murray reportedly bulked up in the offseason. Hundley poked fun at the starting QB “That’s a dad bod.” And joked that his abs were cut “6 feet apart” in reference to the social distancing phrase.
That said, he’s right in how Murray’s arms looked beefy and while Murray’s stature is still among the smallest of NFL quarterbacks, his size doesn’t seem to be a concern anymore.
#2. Conversations about racial justice were driven home.
This was perhaps the most emotional and stark part of the episode. The segment focusing on the protests in honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Aubury swept the nation this past summer and hit home for many of the Arizona Cardinals who are Black citizens of this country. And many, themselves, have been similar victims of racial injustice.
Seeing the composition of visuals, sounds, quotes from the players centered around the social protests that have dominated 2020 it was a reminder of the conversations about how while we are all one human race, there’s still a long way to go to see equality. Many players including Deandre Hopkins have stepped up with petitions to make a change, and Larry Fitzgerald’s op-ed for the New York Times went wild.
In practical terms, it’s clear that Black American’s experience is different from others and even Michael Bidwill stepped in for a segment with his experience as a prosecutor in how “enough is enough”.
With how many Black men play football have a different perspective, it was a great reminder for me of all things in terms of where we are at a nation and a desire to come closer together.
It’s an issue real to those and the Arizona Cardinals want to make a difference in the lives of more than young men and women in Arizona...but to inspire a generation. Kyler Murray mentioned about taking a stand against racism and the team’s internal discussions has been a response to the struggles of 2020 and the Cardinals are taking it head on.
#3. Corey Peters’ Approach to Education Was Awesome
Imagine showing up for your high school book club over Zoom and seeing Chandler Jones and Corey Peters discussing a measure of seeing and treating others the way you’d want to be treated.
Heck, if I didn’t listen to them they could turn me inside out and shove me into a washing machine if they wanted to no matter how good I THOUGHT my pass protection skills might be (joking...I have none)
But like Corey said, he’s tired of seeing a lack of educational resources to having success and him using his platform to put it in a positive light with the Corey Peters Passion Project was a way to impact kids for the rest of their life, with all sorts of walks of life.
It was so amazing to see the leaders that Corey was bringing onto the club and into the educational environment and him using his platform to change lives. It’s crazy to hear kids feeling nervous or in different situations from others is a great way to unify the community and showing the impact that the Phoenix area could have for future safe & trusting communities in the future.
Link to the form for interested kids can be found here for signing up or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
#4. Isaiah Simmons’ contract dream as a child was cool but I’ll take Evan Weaver’s practicality
When asked by Michael Bidwill about if he had ever dreamed of signing his first NFL contract and playing in the NFL, he didn’t hesitate.
His mother and father had a latter from 5th grade “one day i’ll play in the NFL, have a mansion” and didn’t disappoint. Simmons was selected 8th overall and will 100% get the chance to live out his dream.
On the other side...
Evan Weaver’s was funny—in first grade he said he didn’t need to learn how to read cause his mom could read his contract for him.
Boy, I sure bet his mom is glad he doesn’t have to do that!
#5. A Measured Approach...the full 6 degrees of separation
This one was perhaps the biggest thing we learned and the most impressive point of all to me...
The steps the Cards took and are taking to ensure the safest possible environment.
- Contact Tracing wristbands (10 minutes or more of within 6 feet of distance is tracked AND it beeps if you are within 6 feet of another person also wearing one (!)
- Distanced kept along w/ lower personnel in one area
- Cleaning aerating machines for workout equipment in between workouts
- Plexiglas barriers in between lockers
- Distanced film room and cafeteria seats
- Universal masking when indoors (and even outdoors for some)
- High-tech non-contact temperature checks
- A daily questionnaire and covid testing for the first 2 weeks and then every other day Covid testing.
Wow. That’s...a lot.
I mean. No wonder the Cardinals are currently one of two teams that doesn’t have a positive Covid test, and/or has had to put someone on their Covid list yet.
I’ll say it again. Wow.
While I’m not sold that there will or won’t be positive Covid tests as players go back home or travel from location to location and have time off within the week, it does feel very much like it’s a “soft medium” between the hard bubbling that the NBA and NHL chose (with tracking rings and wearable tech for the bubble) and the protocols that we saw in the MLB that still saw spread occur between multiple people with less technology.
Having some wearables is a great way to slow the spread through the contact tracing to ensure that if Covid hits...it won’t spread.
Very encouraging to see Arizona’s plan and that football can not just happen but see if a complete season is possible.
Again, kudos to the Cardinals production team for having to be creative in their filming to keep distancing active during the pandemic.
Having some shots that went RIGHT up to the debut of the show (one as late as August 9th for an August 10th release date) to some Zoom camera shots and interviewing Michael Bidwill at his house (since he hasn’t been to the facility, apparently from what we know, since March and his filming of the Distancing PSA with Larry Fitzgerald) were creative and still showed a lot of information along with some of what Corey Peters was doing in classrooms.
The information and access that fans get, especially during a training camp that will not have any fans in attendance, is definitely something needed in these times.