The draft, in a “normal” year, would have begun April 24. It instead has been pushed back two weeks, to May 8. But that doesn’t mean the Cardinals won’t have some significant draft discussion the night of April 24 — and the fans will have a chance to be part of it.
That Thursday night, which has usually wed the draft party with the opening of the Big Red Rib & Music Festival on the Great Lawn outside University of Phoenix Stadium, there will be a live TV special shot during the Cards’ “Spring Tailgate” event. Admission is free. Gates open at 5 p.m., and at 7 p.m., a draft preview shown on Fox Sports Arizona will take place with fans as the studio audience. The show, hosted by Paul Calvisi and Ron Wolfley, will feature team president Michael Bidwill, GM Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians, along with safety Tyrann Mathieu and new left tackle Jared Veldheer.
Part of the show will be questions from the fans, including some sought through social media. So, using hashtag #CardsTailgate, you can send questions over social (via Twitter, for instance) and some of those will be used in the broadcast. It’ll be two weeks before the draft, so I’m not sure anyone is going to be giving away any trade secrets, but it will be entertaining and a chance to get up close and fairly personal with key Cardinals’ personnel.
UPDATE: Using hashtag #CardsTailgate on Twitter, you can tweet questions for the Spring Tailgate panel. If your question is used, you will win an autographed Cardinals mini-helmet.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Jared Veldheer, Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim, Tyrann Mathieu
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It’ll be easier to see replays this season when you are watching at game at University of Phoenix Stadium. As part of an e-mail message sent to season-ticket holders Tuesday evening, team president Michael Bidwill announced the Cardinals’ home will have new videoboards this season.
Calling it a “collaborative effort” between the team and the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, Bidwill said the screens at both the south and north ends will be improved. “At the south end of the stadium you will see an incredible, visually-stunning, high-definition LED board that is more than three times the size of the current one and with 75% higher resolution,” Bidwill wrote. “As part of this initial phase of stadium upgrades, the north end will now feature a scoreboard that is triple the current size.”
Bidwill also addresses WiFi at the stadium, calling enhancements a “priority” and saying there would be more specific information to be shared in the “very near future.”
Across the NFL teams have pushed to improve the in-stadium experience and the Cardinals are no different. In fact, Bidwill closes the note by saying the part of the organization’s mission is to give fans the “world-class stadium experience that you deserve.”
Tags: Michael Bidwill, University of Phoenix stadium
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Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, one of the founding members of the American Football League and a Pro Football Hall of Fame member, died today at the age of 95. The Cardinals released a statement from team president Michael Bidwill.
“At a critical juncture in the National Football League’s history, Ralph Wilson provided a level of leadership and vision that helped make the NFL what it is today,” Bidwill said. “He not only recognized the sport’s potential popularity and success but was pivotal in helping to achieve it. Our hearts go out to his wife Mary, the Bills organization and everyone in Western New York on their tremendous loss.”
Tags: Bills, Michael Bidwill, Ralph Wilson
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Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said Thursday he is one of those who is in favor of the NFL expanding the playoffs, although he isn’t willing to give 100 percent backing yet.
“I am in favor conceptually of expanding the playoffs,” Bidwill said during an interview on Arizona Sports 98.7. “The question of how and where and all that stuff, I don’t want to get ahead of seeing the analysis. I want to make sure we look at the data and listen to the debate. I want to see and hear what is best for the game. But I think we should have an expanded playoffs, and not just because it was us that didn’t get in this year. Because it is the right thing for the game.”
The Cardinals, who went 10-6, would have been the seventh NFC team in the postseason (six make it to the playoffs now). If the postseason is grown, adding one team per conference is the most likely change.
– Bidwill, talking about the Super Bowl coming back to Arizona in a year and the plan to bring future Super Bowls to the Valley:
“We are all, the Cardinals included, are giving to make sure we get this. From the corporate world, the government side, the public sector side, so we can continue to work hard and compete to be in these (Super Bowl) rotations. It’s a $500 million economic impact. It is invaluable from a tourism standpoint and everything else. We will continue to go after big games. We are a finalist for the Final Four, we’ve got the (college football) championship game for 2016. We as a community and a state will continue to do that.”
– Bidwill, addressing the many free agents of the Cardinals and other offseason issues, like Larry Fitzgerald’s bulky contract:
“It’s a lot of planning and working things out and there might be a person or two that we don’t see eye to eye on the number and there are negotiations,” Bidwill said. “But this is like this every year and people get fired up about it … but I think everything will work itself out. I really feel confident about that. We will build a better team and have a lot of those (free agents) back, restructure some deals and do what is in the best interests of the team.”
(Bidwill told Kent Somers early talks with Fitzgerald’s agents have already begun.)
As for the free agent process for other team’s players, “I’ll let Steve (Keim) and Bruce (Arians) get into the particulars,” Bidwill said. “There are going to be some great free agents out there and we plan to be aggressive in a few areas and then plan to do what we do best, which is draft.”
Tags: Bruce Arians, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim
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There will be change for the Cardinals this offseason in the front office. It turns out Jason Licht, vice president of player personnel and right-hand man to General Manager Steve Keim, will be named to the vacant GM job in Tampa Bay, according to Jay Glazer (and now, many national other reporters as well.) It’s a blow to the Cards because Keim and Licht are close. Keim worked hard to bring Licht back from the Patriots after Licht’s first stint in Arizona for the 2008 season. But Licht’s ambition was always to be a GM — he was a finalist for the Bears job in 2012 — and Keim wanted that for Licht as well.
UPDATE: The Cardinals have addressed the move.
“Jason did a tremendous job in two different stints with the Cardinals and we knew it was only a matter of time before he would become a GM,” team president Michael Bidwill said. “We know that he will do a great job in Tampa. At the same time Steve (Keim) has developed a very deep bench in our personnel department to prepare for this event and will continue to make that area a strength of the organization.”
Said Keim, “Anyone that knows Jason recognizes not only what an outstanding evaluator he is but also a high-quality person. His reputation is well-deserved and speaks for itself. There’s no doubt his talent and experience will be a tremendous asset for the Buccaneers and all of us here wish him nothing but the best.”
The Buccaneers have already hired a new coach in Lovie Smith, and there was a lot of talk about the new GM having little true power because it would be wielded by Smith. But Glazer was the latest to report the new GM will indeed control the draft and other personnel decisions. For an up-and-comer like Licht, there would have been no reason to settle for a toothless GM job. Adam Schefter reported Licht will sign a four-year contract.
What does this mean for Keim (below left, with Licht in the middle and scout Terry McDonough)? The Cardinals will have to fill that void. I’m sure, since Licht was also interviewing for the Dolphins GM job, that Keim is prepared for a Licht departure. I don’t know if they would go outside the organization or promote from within. But these are the things you deal with when you hire good people.
Tags: Buccaneers, Jason Licht, Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim, Terry McDonough
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A year ago today, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians sat at a press conference with the Arizona media, like Bengals OC Jay Gruden and Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell had done in the days before, talking about his interview with the Cardinals, how it went well, and how he thought he was ready to become a head coach. Later that evening, Arians — unlike Gruden, Bevell and a handful of other candidates to replace Ken Whisenhunt — signed up to be the Cards’ next head coach.
It’s been quite the year. “It’s going to be a great team,” Arians said a short time after taking the job. “Team is what it takes.” Arians never wavered in that belief, pushing it on the players. “Coach ‘em hard and hug ‘em later” was the motto taught to Arians by legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant (for whom Arians coached the last two years of Bryant’s career) and that remains his philosophy. Arians could shred a player on the field during practice and laugh with that same player moments later when practice was over. He was intense, admittedly emotional, yet had fun not only with his team but talking about his team. Most importantly, he said from the start his team would compete with NFC West powers Seattle and San Francisco, and he was right.
“There is no question Bruce has a unique skill,” General Manager Steve Keim said. “I haven’t been around many coaches during my time in this business that have the ability to drive players to almost a breaking point and yet at the end of the day these guys love him and want to play for him. I think these players respect him, respect the coaches that he has hired, and know that he is just trying to put them in position to succeed.”
Arians had 10 wins in his first year as Cardinals coach. Only Norm Barry, who had 11 back in 1925 when the NFL wasn’t quite the NFL yet, had more in his rookie season coaching the Cards. The day of Arians’ official he’s-now-the-Cards-coach press conference, Keim said he and team president Michael Bidwill liked Arians’ personality and energy. It permeated the building from the moment Arians arrived. A year in, it was exactly what the Cardinals needed.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim
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The news came out today that University of Phoenix Stadium has been picked to host the 2016 national championship game for college football in our post-BCS world. That will be the game following the 2015 season, and will be the second year in a row such an event will be held at the Cardinals’ home. The Super Bowl will be at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2015, following the 2014 NFL season.
Arizona beat out Jacksonville, New Orleans and Tampa for the 2016 game. Tampa was awarded the 2017 game. The game in Arizona will be played January 11, 2016.
“The competition for attracting events with this type of economic impact and prestige is intense,” Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “For Arizona to be awarded college football’s National Championship game is a huge victory for our community, especially a year after University of Phoenix Stadium will host the Super Bowl. We were excited to work with the Fiesta Bowl on the bid and are anxious to continue that partnership moving forward.”
Said Bill Hancock, executive director of the new College Football Playoff, “Arizona has proven itself to be one of the greatest settings for premiere college football events, and has become a favored destination for fans from around the country. The folks in Arizona put together an exceptional bid that really won the day with the management committee.”
Tags: Michael Bidwill, national championship game, University of Phoenix stadium
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We covered the Larry Fitzgerald trade rumors yesterday. Here was General Manager Steve Keim this morning on his weekly “Doug and Wolf” appearance:
“I can tell you two things, and I want to make this clear and simple: I have not had one conversation with another NFL team regarding a trade with Larry Fitzgerald,” Keim said. “Number two, starting with Michael Bidwill on down, it is our intent for Larry Fitzgerald to retire a Cardinal. Period.
“If there is any grey area there, let me know, and we can get that out.”
Keim did talk about the potential restructuring or contract issue with Fitz going forward, noting — and this is important given Fitz’s $18 million cap hit for 2014 — that the current pact has been factored into roster planning.
“We did Larry’s deal last time, and I have talked about our future looking at it with the three-year view regarding the cap and contracts, etc., (but) regardless of the situation, we have accounted for Larry’s deal moving forward,” Keim said. “Anything else that’s done is something we will have to look at and continue to talk through, but Larry Fitzgerald is a Cardinal and will remain a Cardinal.”
Keim said he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t at least listen to whatever might come down the road (Wolf asked if he would pull the trigger if he were offered four No. 1 picks — which of course would never happen), but under the circumstances, the team is happy with Fitzgerald. “I’d probably have to burn 15 jerseys in my house if we did (trade him),” Keim deadpanned.
Tags: Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim
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First, and most importantly, defensive end Calais Campbell was released from Stanford hospital last night about 11 p.m. on the plane of Michael Bidwill, accompanied by Campbell’s sister Keyonne, who had attended the game, and Cardinals athletic trainer Chad Cook. They got back to Arizona about 1 a.m. and Campbell took part in team meetings at 8 a.m.
Campbell had a CT scan and MRI yesterday and thus far, has checked out OK but the Cardinals will continue to evaluate him. A lot of people have asked for Campbell’s exact injury. Basically, Campbell was feeling numbness and tingling in his extremities and the Cards decided to be very careful. Campbell was moving after the play. A lot of this was precautionary. But it’s great news.
General Manager Steve Keim, on his weekly “Doug and Wolf” appearance on Arizona Sports 620, said it was too early to know if Campbell might have a chance to play against the Seahawks Thursday. Obviously the Cards could use him, but the fact — after that scary scene on the Candlestick turf Sunday afternoon — Campbell is doing better is the best news of all.
UPDATE: Campbell said Monday he was hopeful he would be cleared to play Thursday.
On a totally different topic, Keim was asked about quarterback Carson Palmer and whether what Palmer gives the Cards outweigh the negatives — like interceptions.
“Well, number one, (Carson) is certainly our best option right now,” Keim said. “Number two, the thing I like about him is the way he has handled adversity. The other games he struggled, to me they were more middle-to-late third-quarter issues. This game started rough early. The way he handled adversity and the way he came back and made nice throws and put us in a position to have at least a chance of winning I think was exciting to me. Again, each week we talk about whose fault and I really don’t want to get into finger-pointing, but there is a throw he tries to make to Larry (Fitzgerald) down the seam which he forces. That is obviously a bad throw and a mistake. On the other intercetpion, JIm Dray was supposed to hook that route and insted he drifted. Carson put the ball in the spot where Jim was supposed to be. Again, that one is on the receiving tight end.
“(Carson) has to play more consistent. He knows it. When you make cirtical mistakes at certain points in the game, it deflates you. That’s no different than our Pro Bowl star receiver, has a 75-yard touchdown, fights through an injury and plays for us which we were happy with, and then on the 24-yard line going in to take the lead, we have a critical fumble. I think that is something you can play about every position. But when you are the quarterback, the bulls-eye is certainly on your chest.”
Tags: Calais Campbell, Carson Palmer, Chad Cook, Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim
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Michael Bidwill confirmed today the Cardinals will hold their public training camp practices at University of Phoenix Stadium. Beyond that, the Cardinals are still working on the details.
“Everything in regard to the stadium is set,” Bidwill said. “Everything else in regard to Glendale is not set.”
Bidwill said he is hopeful it will come together. He reiterated camp is closer to the largest part of the fan base in the Valley, and noted 20 of the 32 NFL teams practice at their facility and/or stadium. The plan is that the Cards will have places on the concourse for fan activities, Bidwill said. There is a Real Madrid- L.A. Galaxy soccer game in the stadium in Aug. 1, but Bidwill said the Cards have the ability to practice at ASU’s facility that day. The Cards also think they have a good plan to work with the turf in the stadium, which obviously would take a pounding with daily practices.
As far as moving the entire football operations out to Glendale, Bidwill said that wouldn’t necessarily happen. “Those are some of the things we haven’t decided on,” he said.
“We tried to make the best decision for the team,” Bidwill said. “The facilities NAU had moved us into the last couple of years were completely substandard for a professional football team and we were paying big rent up there. They just didn’t want to cooperate with us anymore. … I was not going to let this team be at a competitive disadvantage.
“I think it will make us a better team and give fans better access.”
There is no timetable on having camp at the stadium either.
“We don’t want to necessarily look at this as a short-term situation, but we’ll see how it goes,” Bidwill said.
Tags: Michael Bidwill, training camp, University of Phoenix stadium
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