The dinner was at Tarbell’s on Camelback Road on Wednesday night, a prelude to a formal Thursday interview with potential head coach Bruce Arians. But Michael Bidwill felt that night — as the conversation turned, as much as they tried not to, to hardcore football.
“He’s a great teacher,” Bidwill said, “and he didn’t need a chalkboard to communicate what he wanted to do.”
That was the night Bidwill was convinced Arians was going to be the right pick to be the Cardinals’ next head coach. General manager Steve Keim wouldn’t go that far, but the vibe was good, he said, and that carried over to the next day’s talk — a long day that eventually ended up with Arians accepting the job in the early evening.
“It was very similar to when I decided what college I went to,” said Keim, the former offensive lineman from North Carolina State. “I remember having just the right feel.”
Bidwill said the Cardinals interviewed a total of “close to 10 candidates.” Not all were known publicly and at least one was on the college level, Bidwill added. Arians was a target from the start, Keim said. Why did it take so long to talk to him? Keim said there were others the Cards wanted to get to first — Andy Reid and Mike McCoy were named the day the Cards fired Ken Whisenhunt — and Arians was also in the playoffs with the Colts. Then Arians came down with the serious ear infection that not only kept him from the Indianapolis playoff game but for a couple of days after, and then Arians also committed to interviewing with the Bears (a job for which Arians was the runner-up to Marc Trestman.)
But Keim said he had been talking with Arians’ agent, Mike Brown, from the time Whisenhunt was relieved of his duties. “We knew at some point we’d have a chance to get in front of Bruce,” Keim said.
The exact details of how the coaching decision was made was, obviously, kept close to the vest by the power structure (Bidwill said director of player personnel Jason Licht and brother Tim Bidwill joined Keim and himself on the coaching interviews.)
“One thing through this process I have learned is the amount of misinformation,” Keim said. “You guys (in the media) have a tough job, because a lot of times, you’re chasing ghosts.
“We stayed the course. We had several guys we wanted to talk to, but once we talked to Bruce, we knew he was our guy.”
Tags: Bruce Arians, Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim
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