The NFL is looking for ways to improve the in-stadium experience, a must in a day and age when sitting at home and watching on TV has become pretty enjoyable in its own right. One thing coming in 2013: Cameras in the locker room (of the home team), with insider scenes that will only be shown to fans in the stands at the game. It’s given some players pause, but it was an important step for the league as they try and use what is available to them to improve watching a game live.
Some teams and owners had some concerns. But, NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman told Sports Business Daily, the NFL is moving forward, not just with the locker room shots but also with an increased number of in-stadium replays. That is supposed to include key plays that may not look favorable to the home team.
“We’re going to mandate a number of things,” Grubman said. “We’re going to mandate cameras. We’re going to mandate replays, not just after a disputed call but after a whole series of important plays – fumbles, out of bounds. Now it doesn’t matter if you want your technician to favor the home team. You’re not going to have a choice. Why? Just listen to the fans.”
Tags: locker room, University of Phoenix stadium
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Team president Michael Bidwill is in New Orleans for the Super Bowl, and during a visit to Radio Row, touched on a subject a lot of people are wondering about: Where training camp will be held in 2013. It’s no secret the team’s contract with Flagstaff ran out after next year, and the team is currently exploring options.
Bidwill talked about some of the issues the Cardinals have had with NAU, with construction and being displaced and issues of various accommodations, and he said NAU plans to address those things. “That’s real good for them,” Bidwill told “Bickley and MJ” on XTRA 910, “because there are other competitors out there we are speaking with.”
One of those competitors is Glendale, where University of Phoenix Stadium resides. That could end up being the place the Cards go for camp, using the stadium and other possible new facilities to be built.
“They are (a viable option),” Bidwill said. “We are considering both (Flagstaff and Glendale), that’s for sure.”
As for what that might mean to the fans, Bidwill said fan access will still be important, regardless of where the Cards end up.
“The whole idea behind training camp is both a football activity where we are getting players ready for the season, but it is also a fan activity where we want to bring fans in,” Bidwill said. “There are many elements where it is great about doing it in Flagstaff, but there are also great possibilities of doing it at University of Phoenix Stadium. It could be a really a fantastic site. There are a little bit of tradeoffs, but there is no doubt (the camp experience) gets better and better each year and that is something we want to continue to focus on.”
– Bidwill had an interesting quote when talking about drafting a quarterback. He reiterated that the team needed to address the quarterback situation, but was going to leave those specifics up to GM Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians. But he talked about the things he had witnessed in the draft room over the years. “Every time we have reached, we have made a mistake. I don’t want to reach. You start reaching for a guy rather than going for best player available, you make mistakes.”
– As for free agency, he also is leaving that to Keim, but as for being tight against the salary cap, “I know we have some flexibility and there are things we can do around the cap to make room to get better,” Bidwill said.
Tags: draft, Michael Bidwill, salary cap, training camp, University of Phoenix stadium
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The Cardinals have sold out 58 games in a row at University of Phoenix Stadium — in fact, every game they have ever played there, preseason and postseason included. But with the way the season has gone in 2011 (and the way 2010 went), along with the visit from a fellow 1-6 team in the St. Louis Rams Sunday, the question has built up for a while: Will the streak continue Sunday?
Coach Ken Whisenhunt, not surprisingly, is hoping it does.
“It’s obviously something that’s important to our team,” Whisenhunt said. “We’re working hard to try to make sure we’re taking care of business, and we haven’t done that. It’s been a tough stretch for our fans, I understand that, and we’re working hard to try to get that fixed. Hopefully they’ll continue to support us. We’ve had a number of exciting games (at UoP) and they’ve been a big part of that. All I can tell you is that we’re going to have more (exciting games) there, and we sure would appreciate the support.”
That led to a follow-up question about hearing criticism coming from fans, and Whisenhunt pointed it out it’s delivered by “you guys,” as in the media, because even if he isn’t reading message boards or listening to talk radio, he isn’t unaware of what’s being said.
“I understand that’s part of this business,” Whisenhunt added. “We’re not performing the way we expect to perform and we’re not performing the way our fans expect us to perform. But let me tell you this, it’s not because out guys aren’t working and they’re not trying. When we walked off that field yesterday, our guys were crushed. It’s hard. We want to win and we’re working hard to try to do it. It’s one of those things where we have to stick together.”
Tags: fans, Ken Whisenhunt, sellout, University of Phoenix stadium
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Tuesday the NFL will decide on where Super Bowl XLIX will be played after the 2014 season (so February of 2015) and Arizona — and the University of Phoenix Stadium — has a good chance of getting the nod.
The league changed up the process for awarding Super Bowls recently, so now only two areas reach the “finals” for a game. Arizona is up against the Tampa/Orlando area — where the Super Bowl was just held in 2009, when the Cards and Steelers played at Raymond James Stadium. Arizona, of course, last held a Super Bowl in 2008, when the Patriots couldn’t complete an unreal undefeated season because Eli Manning, David Tyree and Plaxico Burress wouldn’t stop completing passes down the stretch.
The next three Super Bowls are in Indianapolis after this season, New Orleans after the 2012 season and New York/New Jersey after the 2013 season.
The owners are meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel in Houston. A decision is expected to be made around noon Houston time (10 a.m. Arizona time) and it will be announced live on the NFL Network.
Tags: Michael Bidwill, Super Bowl, University of Phoenix stadium
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After last hosting the Super Bowl back after the 2007 season, University of Phoenix Stadium and Arizona are one of two finalists for the game to be played in 2015 after the 2014 season — along with Tampa Bay. The last time Tampa hosted was after the 2008 season, when the Cardinals made it to the game against Pittsburgh. The decision will be made at the October owners meetings.
“We are delighted to receive the terrific news that Arizona is one of two finalists for the 2015 Super Bowl,” said Mike Kennedy, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman. “As I have always said, we are in the Super Bowl business and believe we have the best facilities and most hospitable venue in the country.”
The next three Super Bowls are schedule to be in Indianapolis, New Orleans and New York.
Tags: Super Bowl, University of Phoenix stadium
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Every two years, the NFL Players Association has their rank-and-file do a survey on the best and worst fields in the NFL. For a second straight time, the field at University of Phoenix Stadium was ranked the best grass surface in the league (and, since grass is usually accepted as a better surface than turf, I think it’s fair to say that means UoP is the best surface in the NFL period. Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy was voted the best artificial turf).
To look at the entire survey and how each team vote broke down on a variety of questions, click here.
Tags: University of Phoenix stadium
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Right about now — assuming Dallas hasn’t frozen over — the 20 Cardinals fans who comprise the Arizona House of Cards are taking part as one of six teams in the Bing National Tailgating Championship during Super Bowl festivities. The contest is about food, sports trivia, “athletic feats” and team spirit. They will vie against teams from Houston, New York, Denver, New Orleans and Seattle.
House of Cards does it up right at University of Phoenix Stadium, with gourmet food, satellite TV and a full bar. Dishes like chipotle-glazed shrimp and grilled pork tenderloin are aimed to help the group — which drove more than 20 hours through the famously bad weather to reach the final today — come home with the title.
Tags: University of Phoenix stadium
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Just when it felt good to celebrate some summer rain for once, it turned nasty enough to tear holes in the roof of University of Phoenix Stadium and leave debris on the floor. I know the Cardinals’ decision makers were supposed to check it out this evening just as the team prepares to go to training camp tomorrow. The first home game is in two weeks — Aug. 14 — to open the preseason against the Texans. The second preseason game isn’t until Sept. 2. At this point, I have no idea how this affects the Texans game, if at all. I am sure if there is anything to report I’ll have something, but for now, the hope I am sure is to have everything in place by the time the Cards have to play there again.
Tags: University of Phoenix stadium
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Not that Ken Whisenhunt already hasn’t done it, as a scratch golfer and as coach of a two-time defending division winner. But here are the ultimate images. Sports Illustrated is doing a feature on Whisenhunt for their golf magazine, and Whisenhunt was out at University of Phoenix Stadium today for a photo shoot — standing on the field, which is rolled outside, aiming toward the stadium he is inside Sundays.
No one should fret. No stadiums were harmed in the taking of these photos (and no, that’s not a slam against Whisenhunt’s driving skills; the pictures were staged so he wasn’t hitting actual golf balls).
Tags: golf, Ken Whisenhunt, University of Phoenix stadium
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Sports Illustrated has been releasing tons of sports-related lists and, in what I’d consider something of an mild upset, University of Phoenix Stadium tops the magazine’s top 10 choices for “best new stadium” since 2000. The Cardinals’ home beat out AT&T Park in San Francisco — home of baseball’s Giants. That monster of a new stadium out in Texas built for the Cowboys finished third on the list, new Yankees Stadium was fourth and the Pirates’ PNC Park in Pittsburgh was fifth.
SI mentions the fact UoP hosts not only the Cards but the Fiesta Bowl and already one Super Bowl. “The award-winning design features a roof covered by a translucent fabric and exterior walls made of metallic panels to help with cooling inside. The field can be moved outside on rollers, enabling optimal grass growth in the desert setting.”
Tags: University of Phoenix stadium
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