When I saw ProFootballTalk.com’s post about the “Cardinals Mount Rushmore” two things ran through my brain. The first was simply that the topic is the one of the oldest and cheesiest “slow time in sports” gimmicks radio has been using for decades. The second thought was that I’m a big enough sucker that I’ll put aside my snobby tastes and click on the link.
I should have listened to my initial gut reaction.
At first glance their selections make sense. The four faces on the Red Birds’ mountain included Larry Wilson, Dan Dierdorf, Larry Fitzgerald and Pat Tillman. Good selections, but do they truly represent the best the Cards have ever had? I’d argue no.
Larry Wilson is tough to argue. He is a “legend” in the true sense of the word. He is a guy who played in an era where highlights were tougher to find than Tony Romo on the field at the Super Bowl. There was no SportsCenter, VHS tapes or YouTube. His greatness is the kind of thing that has been passed along like the myths of the ancient societies. The story about his interception with casts on both hands due to broken wrists has been told so many times without being seen that it seems like a tall tale where at some point he will have had broken legs two and had to run up hill to and from the end zone.
Larry Fitzgerald deserves to be on there for the sole purpose that, for the first time ever, he made Cardinals fans truly believe they were going to be Superbowl champions (And most of them are still waiting for Santonio Holmes’ second foot to come down in the end zone). The fact that he has some of the most impressive receiver stats ever in the NFL is just icing on the cake.
Dan Dierdorf is where I start to have a problem. Great football player? Yes. Hall of Famer? Yes. Marginal broadcaster? Yes. But can an offensive lineman who never won anything really be one of the four faces of your franchise? The answer is simply, no.
I also have a problem with Tillman’s inclusion but it is not for the reasons you would think. The sacrifice he made was greater than any football player will and could ever give on the field. His inclusion on this fictitious shrine is insulting. If we’re just giving away imaginary rock formations he deserves one of his own because he will always stand alone.
My main problem lies in the exclusions that PFT made. Apparently the writer of the piece wasn’t one of the 25,000 who either went to Sun Devil Stadium or listened to Tom Dillon on the radio in the 1990s. If they had been one or both of them you would have seen either Aeneas Williams or Larry Centers make the list. Both redefined their positions for the Cardinals and helped break the franchise playoff drought that lasted longer than a Ken Burns documentary on the team’s history.
Also, how does Kurt Warner, possibly the most transcendent player the club has ever seen — and not in the religious sense — not make the list? The franchise wandered the dessert longer than Moses searching for a quarterback before the former grocery bagger came on the scene. In the blink of an eye he turned the Cardinals from doormat of the league to knocking on the door of the league’s biggest accomplishment.
Need another Chicago or St. Louis Cardinal ? Roy Green wouldn’t be a bad choice. Neither would Dick “Night Train” Lane.
So congrats PFT you got my click. Unfortunately your list didn’t gain my respect and shouldn’t gain the respect of other Cardinals fans either.