If you haven’t heard by now, the Arizona Cardinals were bypassed for HBO’s Hard Knocks in favor of the ever middling Dallas Cowboys.
And that’s a good thing.
While the HBO program would have brought some additional eyes on the club, the Cardinals don’t need that distraction entering such a critical year.
This team historically does it’s best work as an under the radar afterthought rather than a team propped up with high expectations.
The 2008 and 2013 Cardinals immediately come to mind as undervalued clubs that took the league by surprise.
The Arizona Cardinals are a 25/1 odds, according to Vegas, to go winless (0-16) in 2013...— Johnny Venerable (@JohnnyVenerable) August 6, 2013
On the flip side, the 2010, 2016 and 2020 Arizona Cardinals were all saddled with lofty preseason expectations only to flame out in more ways than one. With both GM Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury under immense pressure to win this season, a reality show on the eve of such a critical point in franchise history may not be the best idea.
Imagine a camera crew highlighting Arizona’s recent failures while continually questioning Kyler Murray’s commitment to football (compared to baseball). What about a spotlight on Zaven Collins June arrest? Another tour of Kliff’s Paradise Valley mansion?
Yea I’m gonna go ahead and take a pass on all of that.
Now whether or not you believe the Cardinals should have been selected is another argument entirely. While many believe the team has a better overall club compared to Dallas, their brands are polar opposites in every sense. The Cowboys are a top five franchise in all of pro sports and regardless of their roster outlook, they are always a draw.
The same cannot be said for Arizona.
The Cardinals, according to Forbes, are currently the 27th ranked NFL franchise in terms of total worth ($2.2 billion). Their fan base, fair or not, is routinely seen selling off their tickets to home games. The official Twitter account for the Arizona Cardinals has yet to reach one million followers (the Phoenix Suns are at 1.3 million).
The Dallas Cowboys are approaching nearly four million followers on Twitter.
In the last quarter century, the Dallas Cowboys have won fewer playoff games than— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) July 2, 2021
The New York Jets
The Jacksonville Jaguars
The Arizona Cardinals
The Atlanta Falcons
The Carolina Panthers
The Minnesota Vikings
The San Diego Chargers
— Dan https://t.co/x55onaZb7X
The Arizona Cardinals are currently an afterthought in today’s NFL landscape, as 12 different online betting sites have the Cardinals firmly seated to finish fourth in the NFC West. If I’m an HBO executive, is this really the team I want to put on air?
This evidence, among others, should all play into the team’s hand of disrespect entering the 2021 season. So while we’d all love an inside look at the team’s inner-workings throughout training camp, the timing just doesn't feel right with this club. With Bruce Arians at the helm in 2015, the team had a proven leader and culture setter in place that could help offset the presence of the 24-hour media that came with Amazon’s “All or Nothing.’
The current Arizona Cardinals, if you haven’t noticed, no longer have a “Bruce Arians” in house. Which means complicating things with a short term stint on Hard Knocks doesn’t help to change their football culture.
Winning, however, does.