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Blogs

Cardinals among top 50 valued sports teams

Posted by Darren Urban on July 16, 2014 – 9:54 am

Forbes came out with another list ranking the (estimated) value of sports teams, in this case, the world’s 50 most valuable franchises. The Cardinals make the list at No. 40, with an estimated worth of $961 million. Only the Raiders and Jaguars don’t make the top 50 list among NFL teams, meaning that even though it is top-heavy with soccer clubs (the top three are soccer, a major nod to the global fan base the sport produces) the list still provides context of how powerful the NFL — which dominates the United States — remains.

The top team is the soccer club Real Madrid, valued at $3.44 billion. The top non-soccer franchise is the New York Yankees, worth $2.5 billion, at No. 4. The top NFL team is at No. 5, with the Dallas Cowboys coming in at $2.3 billion. The Patriots, Redskins and Giants are also in the top 10.

Among NFC West teams, the San Francisco 49ers ($1.224 billion) are 20th, the Seattle Seahawks ($1.081 billion) are 28th, and the St. Louis Rams ($875 million and hoping for a new stadium, which would boost their value) are 45th.

Forbesuse


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Warner in, so who’s next for Ring of Honor?

Posted by Darren Urban on June 18, 2014 – 4:37 pm

The timing made all kinds of sense for the Cardinals to put Kurt Warner in the Ring of Honor this season. There is a high-profile “Monday Night Football” game in which to do the ceremony (if you have forgotten, Aeneas Williams also went in at halftime of an MNF game) and this is the first year Warner is eligible to be voted into the Hall of Fame — which would happen in downtown Phoenix the day before the Super Bowl here in Arizona, if it were to happen. In a lot of ways Warner was a supernova in Arizona considering he played just five seasons (and barely played in one of those, 2006, when Matt Leinart was trying to make his way in the league.) It was an incredible run though (as this timeline and this top 10 list of his best games says more tangibly.)

So who is next?

We already know Adrian Wilson will get there. Michael Bidwill has already said as much. First, though, Wilson has to retire, and he’s not ready to do that quite yet as he hopes to find a job somewhere in 2014. At some point, you figure Larry Fitzgerald is a lock, regardless of what happens in the future. Obviously the hope is that Fitzgerald plays out his career in Arizona, but the NFL is a business and Fitz staying is anything but a guarantee. Certainly, he’s done enough on and even off the field that he’ll be Ring-bound some day.

Beyond that, though, I don’t see any sure bets. It’s way too early to think about Patrick Peterson. Does Darnell Dockett warrant a discussion? Could Calais Campbell some day be worth it? I think Anquan Boldin was headed in that direction, but the way his tenure (and his last two seasons) ended in Arizona I’d call that a very long shot, which is too bad. He was a part of the renaissance of this franchise. I don’t know if some of the other guys from the 1998 team — a Larry Centers, a Jake Plummer — would fit.

Again, with Bidwill noting  that 11 of the 13 previous Ring members before Warner are in the Hall of Fame, that means something. They are, Bidwill said, “the best of the best” and that’s a lofty ideal. The franchise has been around since 1898, and only 14 guys have gone in. It’s not an easy honor to obtain. It is a fun subject to debate.

JackInTheADub

 


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Patrick Peterson hosts “Celebs and Steaks” charity event

Posted by since1898 on June 10, 2014 – 11:45 am

BACK TO #since1898


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Bucannon’s impressive first impression

Posted by Darren Urban on May 9, 2014 – 3:46 pm

Obviously, Deone Bucannon has to be able to play football, and play it well. Otherwise, the other stuff, frankly, doesn’t matter. Not from the NFL perspective. But one of the reasons he is a Cardinal is because of the impression he left with those in the organization he spent time with before the draft, and getting a chance to talk with him for about 45 minutes as he arrived in Tempe, I can see why. He handles himself with maturity and smarts. He is humble. He comes from a military family that definitely has left a positive impact.

In fact, the Cardinals have now drafted safeties in back to back drafts that while they couldn’t have come from more diverse background, seem to work through the same personality: Bucannon and last year’s third-rounder, Tyrann Mathieu.

“You go back to the top of the pyramid, that’s what our owner (Michael Bidwill) wants, that’s what Steve (Keim) wants, that’s what B.A. wants, it’s what Todd (Bowles) wants,” defensive backs coach Nick Rapone said. “We are trying to build a quality team on the field and off the field. Like Deone, Ty doesn’t say a word, he just plays football.”

Both have chips on their shoulders. We all know why Mathieu was hoping to prove people wrong. Bucannon has been undervalued since high school, when he was recruited by just four schools. One was Washington State. One was San Diego State, and interestingly, Bucannon chose Pullman over the beach. (Growing up in a military family, Bucannon said he lived in San Diego for a while when he was growing up and wanted to go someplace different. Pullman is definitely different.)

An example of how Bucannon knows how to handle himself? He was asked today about his big-hitting style and how it might not work all that well in today’s quick-to-fine-on-hits NFL.

“I’m definitely aware, but that’s part of being a professional and becoming a professional,” Bucannon said. “I’m not going to sacrifice any of what got me here, through my aggressiveness and playmaking ability. I don’t want to take away this game I love so much from somebody else by being dumb. That’s not what I want to do. I’m going to be professional about it and be aggressive and I’m going to bring something to this team that the coaching staff and the people in the front office see in me.”


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Live, from the Great Lawn, it’s the Cardinals!

Posted by Darren Urban on April 14, 2014 – 3:57 pm

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 could win an autographed Cardinals mini-helmet.

TailgateBlog


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New videoboards at University of Phoenix Stadium

Posted by Darren Urban on April 8, 2014 – 5:41 pm

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.”

 


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Michael Bidwill on passing of Bills owner Ralph Wilson

Posted by Darren Urban on March 25, 2014 – 12:46 pm

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.”


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Bidwill favors expanded playoffs

Posted by Darren Urban on January 30, 2014 – 8:37 pm

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.”


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Bidwill, Keim talk about losing Licht to Bucs

Posted by Darren Urban on January 21, 2014 – 12:03 pm

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.

LichtShot1BLOG


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Bruce Arians, one year later

Posted by Darren Urban on January 17, 2014 – 9:32 am

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.


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