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Who is the most disliked former Arizona Cardinal?

Patrick Peterson was back in Cardinals fans’ lives last weekend. He’s certainly not one of the most well-liked former Cardinals. That brings to mind the question: Who is the most disliked former Cardinal?

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Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers
Patrick Peterson is in Pittsburgh these days. How do Cardinals fans still feel about him?
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

One minor storyline from the Arizona Cardinals upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers that got some national attention was the Patrick Peterson “revenge game” angle. Peterson, a once-beloved Cardinal, is now almost universally disliked, if not hated, among Cardinals fans.

But is he the most-disliked former Cardinal? There are certainly several other contenders —although I will say that given how hapless this franchise has been for much of its tenure in the desert, a lot of ill will toward former Cardinals more takes the form of sadness than outright derision.

Still, there are definitely several former Cardinals who remain the targets of fans’ ire, from draft busts to malcontents to actual criminals. Here’s my brief list, mostly focusing on former Cardinals from the State Farm Stadium era. I don’t think many folks around the Valley cared enough about the Cardinals before then to truly dislike many former members of the organization.

Let’s start with some (dis)honorable mentions, including the few older names that came to mind.

Dishonorable Mentions

HC Buddy Ryan

I think I was only 10 or so when the Cardinals hired defensive mastermind and former Eagles HC Ryan, but I do remember it being somewhat of a big deal. “Buddy Ball” and “You’ve got a winner in town” and all that. Ryan only lasted two seasons before getting canned. I don’t know if I’d say he’s actually still hated, but his legacy certainly isn’t a positive one.

WR David Boston

Boston was something of a phenom with the Cardinals—he put up an insane 98/1,598/8 line in 2001—before a drug arrest, assault charges, and an eventual steroid suspension derailed his career. He was briefly a bright light on some bad Cardinals teams but is not a player anyone looks back on with fondness given how his career ended. (And we would later be convicted of assault after his career was over.)

Draft Bust Defensive Linemen

Now here’s a trio of truly disappointing former Cardinals 1st-round draft picks: DE Andre Wadsworth (drafted #3 in 1998), DT Wendell Bryant (#12 in 2002), and Robert Nkemdiche (#29 in 2016). All were highly thought-of prospects, and all busted spectacularly. Wadsworth was supposed to be a part of a dominant Cardinals defensive line and actually had a solid rookie season, but he never lived up to the hype and was out of the league after three seasons. Bryant also lasted only three seasons as substance abuse issues also derailed his career. And Nkemdiche might be the most disliked of the three—after he fell out of the top-10 of the draft after, well, falling out a window, the Cardinals snatched him at the end of the 1st. He had three incredibly nondescript seasons in the desert before bouncing around the league for a few more years.

#5) QB Josh Rosen

Here’s a name that might cause some controversy — many will say Rosen never had a chance in the desert and that the circumstances of his spectacular failure were beyond his control. I agree with some of that. The 2018 season was among the most inept seasons in the history of a historically inept franchise, and Rosen was tossed by the wayside along with one-and-done HC Steve Wilks and his staff. (Including Mike McCoy, another possibility for this list.) But Rosen needs to wear some of the blame himself, and he never seemed to want to earn the goodwill of the team or the fans. No Cardinals fan has any good memories of Rosen and even his name makes many scowl involuntarily, so he belongs on this list.

#4) OLB Chandler Jones

Like the aforementioned (and soon-to-be-mentioned-again) Peterson, Jones was also once beloved here in the desert and a seeming lock for the Ring of Honor. He still might get there someday—he’s the franchise’s all-time sack leader—but his exit from the desert was as abrupt as it was unceremonious. Coming off a 10.5-sack season one year removed from a major biceps injury, the team declined to bring him back and he signed with the Raiders for big money. On his way out, he got into a bizarre online spat with Valley sports personality John Gambadoro that was only a hint of what was to come in his brief Raiders tenure. At least no matter what happens next, Jones will always be more hated by Raiders fans than Cardinals fans.

#3) LB Daryl Washington

When he was in uniform, Washington’s star shone almost as brightly as anyone else on this list—but his downfall was lower and more disgraceful than anyone’s. He was the lynchpin of some pretty good Cardinals defenses in the early 2010s. He had a truly remarkable 134-tackle, 9-sack season in 2012 when he made the Pro Bowl. But it was all downhill from there, as he was suspended multiple times in subsequent years for first substance abuse and then domestic violence. You might remember the drawn-out saga of wondering if he’d ever play again, all while he was still getting paid by the team. It was a truly ugly situation, and Washington is rightfully remembered as one of the most hated former Cardinals.

#2) CB Patrick Peterson

Peterson—PP21—spent nearly a decade in the desert and once looked like a lock for both the Cardinals Ring of Honor and Canton itself. The man made EIGHT straight Pro Bowls, was a First-Team All-Pro three times, and was on the NFL 2010s All-Decade team. But then he demanded a trade, subsequently got himself suspended, then eventually left town—and has proceeded to do nothing but talk trash and burn bridges thereafter. To this day, he seems to go out of his way to take shots at the organization (and one individual in particular; see below). There are also many who were rubbed the wrong way by his oft-non-physical play style. I suspect the accomplishments mentioned above will eventually result in his inclusion in both the Ring of Honor and Canton, but for now, he remains a loathed figure here in the Valley. But he’s not the *most* loathed figure, I don’t think.

#1) GM Steve Keim

Could it be anyone else? Keim did do some good things in his time as GM. He hired Bruce Arians and drafted the likes of Tyrann Mathieu, D.J. Humphries, David Johnson, Budda Baker, and Kyler Murray. He also made some great trades, including those for Carson Palmer, Chander Jones, and DeAndre Hopkins. But man oh man was just about everything else he did a disaster. His draft history was almost entirely incompetent other than those few players mentioned above, and his record in free agency might have even been worse. He torpedoed that 2018 season by drafting Rosen and hiring Wilks—and yet was allowed to keep his job due to his buddy-buddy relationship with Michael Bidwill. And all that AFTER his infamous DUI arrest in the summer of 2018. And he kept his job for another entire FOUR SEASONS after that. His regime mercifully came to an end last season when he “stepped down” from his position to avoid being fired. Like Jones and Peterson, he continues to take potshots at the organization. During most his time here, Keim was almost universally derided—fans were begging for his firing for years. I can’t think of any former Cardinal more disliked than Keim, so he takes #1 on this list.

Final Thoughts

As always, it’s your turn, Birdgang. What do you make of this list? Who would you add or remove? Would you change the order? Time to do your thing: vote in the poll and stir up some bad memories in the comments. What else are we going to do with the Cardinals on bye this week?


Who is your most disliked former Arizona Cardinal?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Josh Rosen
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    Chandler Jones
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Daryl Washington
    (17 votes)
  • 36%
    Patrick Peterson
    (190 votes)
  • 52%
    Steve Keim
    (274 votes)
  • 5%
    Other (explain in the comments)
    (27 votes)
526 votes total Vote Now