Sometimes, when Ken Whisenhunt and Todd Haley were working with the Jets back in 2000, they would go play one-on-one basketball. Sometimes — or more often than sometimes — the loser would be ticked off enough that he’d take the car back by himself and make the winner walk back to the office.
They battled. And they worked together, back then and again with the Cardinals.
“When we were talking about pass routes, when we were talking about game-plan stuff, when we were doing all that, I think we had a great relationship,” Whisenhunt said. “It was only the physical part when it got competitive, when we did the one-on-one basketball or the golf or anything like that. But that’s his nature and that’s my nature. I enjoyed that even when we almost came to blows. You’re mad at the time but afterwards you think about it fondly.”
There was a little basketball when Whiz and Haley came to Arizona. Not one-on-one anymore. These were mostly a handful of five-on-five games with a chunk of the coaching staff, games which I was privileged to be a part of. Whisenhunt and Haley always played on opposite teams, but I never really saw that infamous competitive fire (OK, once) and everyone always had a ride back.
“When you live in an office and share an office with somebody for a year, 365 days, and have to look at each other every day, you develop a bond,” Haley said. “Kenny and I have stayed in touch all through the years and we’ve always had kind of a deal that if one of us got an opportunity to help the other out, we would. Kenny came through on that one a couple of times.
“I’m indebted to Kenny but like I said it’s more than that. He’s a friend of mine. … That’s what’s good about this game and the relationships that are built. You’ll have those forever.”
As for the basketball games, well, maybe they could have used a ref more often.
“Depends on who you ask,” Whisenhunt said, explaining whether Haley fouled a lot on the court. “If you ask me, I say yes he does. If you ask him he will vehemently deny it. It’s been a bone of contention between us for years.”
Tags: Ken Whisenhunt, Todd Haley
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