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When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Kliff Kingsbury’s 35-40 record at Texas Tech had no bearing as to why the Arizona Cardinals hired him as their head coach in 2019.


Yet, Kliff’s skeptics are still trying to stir up the mud with regard to Kliff’s record at Texas Tech by likening his college team’s late season swoons to the ones with the Cardinals.

Kliff Kingsbury’s Points Per Game at Texas Tech

Year Points per game (rank) Points per game allowed (rank)

2013 35.8 (24th) 30.5 (88th)

2014 30.5 (54th) 41.2 (126th)

2015 45.1 (2nd) 43.6 (125th)

2016 43.7 (5th) 43.5 (128th)

2017 34.3 (23th) 32.2 (100th)

2018 37.3 (16th) 31.1 (86th)

Do you remember why the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury?

This is why: (relish every stat, because as the title states, these numbers are “staggering”)

Here are another few reasons why the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury:

  • Johnny Manziel (2014 R1 Pick 22 CLE) HEISMAN
  • Patrick Mahomes (2017 R1 Pick 10 KC) NFL SUPER BOWL MVP
  • Davis Webb (2017 R3 Pick 87 NYG)
  • Baker Mayfield (2018 R1 Pick 1 CLE) HEISMAN

For the ultimate reason:

  • Kyler Murray (2019 R1 Pick 1 ARI) HEISMAN, NFL ROOKIE OF YEAR

Why Kingsbury’s NFL record and offensive accomplishments are impressive:

  • He inherited the worst offense in the NFL and the 31st ranked defense his 1st year in ARI
  • His yearly improvement in wins from 5 to 8 to 10
  • His yearly improvement in NFC West division wins from 1-5. to 2-4 to 4-1.
  • Yards per game: from 16th to 8th to 8th
  • Points per game: from 16th to 10th to 10th.
  • 1st 7-0 start in the history of the Arizona Cardinals
  • 1st 7-0 start in road games in the history of the Arizona Cardinals, all by 10+ points, 5 of them versus 2020 playoff teams
  • Developing Kyler Murray, 2019 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, 2020, 2021 Pro Bowl nods
  • James Conner 2nd in NFL in rushing TDs with 14 in 2021
  • In 2020, DeAndre Hopkins 2nd most yards receiving (1,407) for a season in his career, tied for highest receptions in a season (115), earning 2nd Team All-Pro.
  • 1st playoff berth for Cardinals since 2015.
  • Pro Bowlers Under His Watch: Kyler Murray, James Conner, DeAndre Hopkins, Chandler Jones, Budda Baker
  • Three Year Record to Date: 23-23-1 (Thus far, 2nd Best Winning % (.500) in Arizona Cardinals history, behind only Bruce Arians’ (.619) and 3rd highest in St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals history since 1970 behind Bruce Arians (.619) and Don Coryell (.607)

Other Notable College Coaches Making Jump to NFL Head Coach Records:

  • Nick Saban: 15-17 MIA
  • Steve Spurrier: 12-20 WAS
  • Matt Ruhl: 10-20 CAR
  • Urban Meyer: 2-11 JAC

Cardinals Head Coaches Hired from College

  • Bud Wilkinson: 9-20 STL
  • Don Coryell: 42-27-1 STL
  • Gene Stallings: 23-34-1 STL, ARI
  • Kliff Kingsbury: 23-23-1 ARI


Thus far, Kliff Kingsbury has done exactly what he was hired to do: develop the #1 pick QB Kyler Murray, bring a high volume, high scoring offense back to Arizona and by year three, get the team back into the playoffs. Kliff has accomplished all of this with humility and class. His players love him.

There have been some bumps and growing pains along the way, plus a number of costly injuries to key players.

But, neither Kliff nor his players will use any of the bumps and growing pains as an excuse.

I believe that Kliff Kingsbury has already proven that he not only can win in the NFL, that he is better suited to coach in the NFL. Yes, of course, he still has significant room for improvement, as all young coaches do, but look at the improvements he’s made over the course of 47 games.

I also believe that Kliff’s “go for it” propensity from day one as an NFL head coach has spawned the current trend of coaches going for it so often on 4th downs and 2 point conversions. The “go for it” mentality is not just about studying analytics, it’s about football instinct and a profound belief in the players.

Therefore to Kliff’s continued naysayers and skeptics —- go ahead and try to keep finding the man’s flaws and secrets to his failures and arrange them in rows and columns before us—- meanwhile, those who see the greater good in the coach and the man are apt to react in the way the speaker reacted to the astronomer in this Walt Whitman classic —-

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

  • Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,

When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,

When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,

Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.