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Is Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill still cutting corners?

And hamstringing his head coach, staff and players in the process

Syndication: Arizona Republic Alex Gould/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Background: Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill enters the room before he addresses the media after the team announced Kliff Kingsbury was relieved of his duties as head coach and General Manager Steve Keim’s decision to step down to focus on his health at the Arizona Cardinals Training Facility in Tempe on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. Nfl Cardinals Afternoon Press Conference.Alex Gould/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK.

While the Arizona Cardinals now have a new GM, new assistant GM, new HC, new OC, new DC and a host of new trainers and coaches —- and while the front office and coaching changes have been creating more than a modicum of much-needed positive buzz this off-season —- one thing appears to remain the same —- owner Michael Bidwill continues to cut corners for cost saving measures.

What do the NFL teams in ATL, BAL, BUF, CAR, CIN, CLE, DEN, DET, GB, JAC, KC, LV, LAC, MIA, MIN, NE, NO, NYG, NYJ, SF, TEN and WAS all have in common?

They are starting training camp early, as permitted by the NFL, to allow rookies to report as many as 7 days prior to the league-wide July 25th date when the veterans are expected to arrive.

Why in the world would the Arizona Cardinals, especially with a new front office and coaching staff in place, elect to skip the rookie portion of training camp?

You might remember as well that the Cardinals also elected to skip the third day of mandatory mini-camp.


You might remember that the Cardinals organization, led by Michael Bidwill, received a number of the lowest grades in the NFL on the NFLPA report card (in which the Cardinals ranked 31st of 32 teams) —- (here is the Cardinals report from the NFLPA website —-

To quote the NFLPA:


The Arizona Cardinals rank second to last in their overall score among the 32 NFL clubs. The locker room does not have confidence that owner Michael Bidwill is willing to invest to upgrade the facilities, as he ranks the lowest in that category across the league. The responses that provide the bases for that characterization include: the worst-ranked weight room, which some players feel is a safety hazard; an outdated training room and locker room; and a policy of deducting dinner from players’ paychecks should players want to get food from the facility.

The consistent sentiment in players’ responses was that ownership does not provide high quality workplace facilities, and Club policies reflected the lowest rate of confidence that current ownership is willing to invest to make upgrades

Here are some of the more alarming grades:

Treatment of Families


Support of Players’ Families: Tied for 31st

  • One of 14 teams that do not offer a family room
  • One of 11 teams that do not offer daycare

Post-Game Gathering Area: Ranked 30th

Food Service/Nutrition



Quality of Food: Ranked 32nd

  • If players would like dinner, it will be boxed up for them, but players reported that the team will charge you via payroll deduction. This is apparently the only Club that does this.
  • Players reported that if you work out at the facility after the season is over, the team charges you for every meal eaten at the facility (again, apparently the only team in the league that does this).

Weight Room:



Players describe it as a health and safety risk just to walk through the weight room. The flooring is nearly a unanimous complaint:

  • The floors are uneven
  • The floorboards are peeling up

73% of players think they have enough strength coaches; that percentage is the lowest in the league.

Training Room:



Survey responses included several complaints of being outdated.


  • 67% of players think they have enough ATC (2nd lowest in the league)
  • 48% of players think they have enough PTs (2nd lowest in the league)


You might recall that Terry McDonough has filed a complain to the NFL about poor workplace conditions under Bidwill that included asking employees like McDonough and first year head coach Steve Wilks to violate NFL protocols.


You might recall reading this July 7th Sports Illustrated article by Donnie Druin about former Cardinals’ QB Derek Anderson’s complaints about how he and his teammates were treated by the organization.

Here are some of the choice quotes from Anderson:

“It didn’t work out down there, and actually it might be one of the most dysfunctional organizations that I was ever a part of,” said Anderson, who was then asked about his time in Cleveland.

“The Browns never made me pay for water or Gatorade. They never charged me for sweat suits. They [Arizona] would lock the water coolers at 4:00. We got charged for lunch, lunch was on a buffet line from some guys truck from the parking lot - it was a weird operation and not my favorite situation.”

Druin concluded the article with the Cardinals’ egregious handling of Anderson’s release from the team:

After Anderson was cut, he signed with the Carolina Panthers - though it took longer than anticipated. Days after he was released, the Panthers said they couldn’t officially sign him because Arizona never sent in the proper paperwork.

“The Cardinals still had not cut me - they never put the paperwork in,” said Anderson, who said he was stick in the dorms of Carolina’s training camp facility for over a day waiting for the Cardinals to officially cut him.


Bidwill has begun to make some improvements to the training staff and the facilities —- which is about time, However, he has been insisting that the conditions aren’t nearly as bad as the NFLPA report card suggests, which makes one wonder whether the current changes would have made this year, had there not been an NFLPA report card in the first place?

Why then has Bidwill put his stamp of approval on the team skipping the last day of mandatory mini-camp and 6-7 says of early training camp for the rookies —- which by the way, because the Cardinals were very frugal in free agency, one could make an air-tight case for each of the the Cardinals’ 2023 draft picks to be counted on this year as starters or key rotational and/or special teams contributors.

  • T Paris Johnson Jr.
  • OLB B.J. Ojulari
  • CB Garrett Williams
  • WR Michael Wilson
  • C Jon Gaines II
  • QB Clayton Tune
  • LB Owen Pappoe
  • CB Ket’Trel Clark
  • DT Dabte Sills


The only conceivable conclusion as to why Bidwill has elected to have his team skip 7 practices (1 full team and 6 with rookies) is for cost cutting measures. He is taking these occasions to save on air conditioning, hotels (when necessary), food, staffing (for those punching time clocks), electricity, water, etc.

Bidwill is not only continuing to rip off his team, he is ripping off the fans. The team, the fans and the state of Arizona deserve a first-rate, do-all-you-can-to-succeed football operation.

Even worse in some ways is yet another way in which Bidwill is hamstringing his own head coach and the coaching staff.

Nothing like giving other teams a week’s head start when you have a new head coach and the youngest coaching staff in the NFL.

Sure, why not? Yeah, give the coaches and players the most amount of time off possible. That sure worked last year, didn’t it?

The recent hope among avid Cardinals fans has been that Bidwill would let Monti Ossenfort make all of the key football decisions. Well, skipped practices are proof that those decisions were made by the owner, because Monti Ossenfort is the prud possessor of a fist full of Super Bowl rings while he worked for an organization whose mantra is “no days off.”

It would be against Monti Ossenfort’s nature for him to even consider skipping practices.

No, this is purely on Bidwill.

And, most alarmingly of all, it continues to appear that Bidwill will never change.

The profound irony could be that after hamstringing JG and his his young, gung-ho staff, if the Cardinals are the laughing stock of the NFL this season (as NFL pundits expect), much like as they were in Steve Wilks and Kliff Kingsbury’s last seasons —- that if the Cardinals continue to get walloped at home before crowds that are heavily filled with their opponents’ raucous, celebratory fans, then a Black Monday press conference like the one Bidwill is pictured in above could be in store for JG come the second Monday in January of 2024.

And, to further add to the irony, Bidwill will say what he he always says when he fires a coach —- “it’s a move that had to be made.”