I know. We know it. The Arizona Cardinals were bad this year. The 5-11 record, the carousel of quarterbacks, the loss to the Carolina Panthers, the number five pick in the 2011 NFL Draft all are evidence of it. But now we have new empirical evidence of the fact that the Cardinals are bad. Gaming trends on Madden NFL '11 and Vegas odds-makers setting futures bets confirm what we have known all along.â†µ
The New York Times gives us this titillating piece of news about the way gamers play Madden. They tend to play using teams as there is interest in teams and players in real life. When Ben Roethlisberger came back from his suspension, players used the Steelers more. As Michael Vick emerged this season, the Eagles were more popular. Even the Seahawks saw their use spike after their playoff victory over the Saints.â†µ
What about the Cardinals? They were dead last in player use. That's right, 32nd of 32 teams. Their use was flat as well -- not a single spike. Apparently Max Hall fever was only epidemic in the Phoenix area.â†µ
That is the sort of thing that happens when your likely Hall of Fame quarterback retires and you cut the other "name" signal-caller on the roster.â†µ
When it comes to odds-making, it does not get much better. Vegas has the Cardinals as the third longest shot to win the Super Bowl at 75-1. The only other two teams with worse odds? The Buffalo Bills and the Carolina Panthers, who are a 100-1 shot. I suppose you can't be too surprised. 75-1 odds and no quarterback or even defensive coordinator? That sounds about right. I imagine they are not worse off because they are in the NFC West, where they actually have a shot of making the playoffs.â†µ
As for Madden, to remedy this, they need someone with a big name. Kevin Kolb would draw interest, drafting Cam Newton or having a guy like Beanie Wells have a few breakout games would do just that.â†µ
So, there it is -- empirical proof that the Cardinals are bad and are probably going to be bad again. Things could change, as we all know. Every year there is a worst-to-first division winner. Maybe that will be the Cards. If so, it may not be a bad idea to lay down a little bit of money on the Redbirds (just not too much). The payout could be incredible. If you do make that bet, just a friendly word of advice, make sure it's money you are okay with losing.