It is a bitter sweet time to be a fan of the Arizona Cardinals right now following their humiliating defeat at the hands of the Carolina Panthers in last seasons NFC Championship game.
While last season ended on a very low point for the Cardinals, they have made a lot of positive moves in the off-season - most notably their trade with the New England Patriots for highly rated defensive lineman Chandler Jones.
Eyes on the future
Arizona are amongst the favourites for the NFC championship title once again in 2016, but could this be the last year of their current spell of success?
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The Arizona Cardinals are set to be the last team to be graced with the coaching prowess of the 63-year-old veteran coach, Bruce Arians after he announced that this will be his last job earlier this week.
Arians' contract with the Cardinals is due to be completed in January 2017 and all the speculation will be watching to see if he is signed to an extension or not?
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As reported by NFL.com, Arians was quoted as saying:
"There's the old saying, there's two kinds of coaches, ones that are fired and others who are going to get fired. You just enjoy every day. Right now, it's the highlight of it," in an interview with Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic.
Arians, who is well travelled within the NFL and NCAA having held 14 different positions at 12 different teams.
Despite his extensive footballing journey, Arians will be hoping to win his first Super Bowl as a head coach with the highly promising Cardinals roster before retiring.
Arians will retire following a fantastic career that featured being a part of the double-Super Bowl winning Pittsburgh Steelers as an offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach between 2004 and 2011.
"This will be my last job,"
He has also coached at the New Orleans Saints (tight ends coach - 2006), Kansas City Chiefs (running back coach 1989-92) and Indianapolis Colts (quarterback coach 1998-2000, offensive coordinator and interim head coach 2011).
However, it was his reign as the interim head coach with the Colts, during head coach Chuck Pagano's Leukemia treatment between weeks five and 16, that inflated his stock to allow him to take the most superior role in the desert.
Leading them to a 9-3 record in his 12 games in charge, Arians' management skills were put to the test and he came through with flying colours.
Recording nine wins as an interim head coach became an NFL record, alongside the Colts' amazing turnaround from their woeful 2-14 season that preceded it.
Consequently, he was awarded the Head Coach of the Year award in 2012 - the first interim head coach to win the accolade, which he added to in 2014 with the Cardinals.
If Arians is to retire at the end of his contract, or even before, the Cardinals will have lost a vital cog in their well-constructed machine.
Arians also has had a lot of experience within the college ranks with: Temple (head coach - 1983-88), Alabama (running backs coach 1981-82, offensive coordinator 1997), Mississippi State (wide receiver and running back coach 1978-1980, offensive coordinator 1993-1995) and Virginia Tech (graduate assistant 1975-1977) in the collegiate system, with the latter being his first senior coaching job.
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