When the Patriots met the Cardinals in Week 1 of 2016, it was viewed as a potential Super Bowl preview between two of the league’s best teams. As it turned out, it was a great game that came down to the final minute — but it was no Super Bowl preview. Let’s not forget either the Patriots had Jimmy Garoppolo under center while Brady served his suspension.
After the Patriots beat the Cardinals 23-21, New England went on to win the Super Bowl, while Arizona went on to finish the season a disappointing 7-8-1. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said on the PFT Live podcast that he thinks the Week 1 loss sent the rest of the season spiraling out of control.
“I think the biggest reason was losing the opener on Sunday Night Football to the Patriots on that missed field goal,” Arians said. “That took a lot of swagger out of our football team, then we came back and lost to the Rams in another close game. We didn’t win the close games we had won in the past but it all goes back to that first one.”
The flip side is, the Cardinals didn’t give up on their season and finished with two impressive wins in Weeks 16 and 17. Arians said he thinks that will propel them into the coming season, when he expects his team to play a lot better than it did last year, hopefully starting in Week 1.
Here’s the thing, if a week 1 loss to the best team in the league sends you spiraling out of control, you should be fired. Your sole job as a head coach is to prevent that from happening. Losing to a backup QB has to be pretty demoralizing, but come on, be better. We all thought that Arizona was a team to beat last year, but they turned out to be a bigger dud than a North Korean missile.