Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns at epicenter of NFL, NBA, which is huge change for Arizona
In 2018, the Arizona Cardinals went an NFL-worst 3-13 and the Phoenix Suns went an NBA-worst 21-61.
There wasn't a lot of hope for the future of either of those franchises and Arizona sports fans wallowed in despair.
In 2021, the Arizona Cardinals are an NFL-best 10-2 and the Phoenix Suns are tied for the best record in the NBA at 20-4.
They have identical .833 win percentages.
What a difference a couple of years can make.
The Cardinals fired Steve Wilks after that miserable campaign in 2018 — his only season with the team. They hired Kliff Kingsbury as coach and took Kyler Murray No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL draft, even though they had traded up to land quarterback Josh Rosen in the draft the year before.
Kingsbury and the Cardinals went 5-10-1 in 2019, before going 8-8 and narrowly missing the postseason in 2020.
Now the team can clinch its first postseason berth since 2015 in Week 14 of the NFL season and it is looking like a serious Super Bowl contender.
The Suns went 19-63 in 2018-19 and fired Igor Kokoskov — also after just one season with the team.
They hired Monty Williams as coach, who lead the team to a 34-39 record in 2019-2020 and a 51-21 record in 2020-21, with the team adding some key pieces like Chris Paul and Jae Crowder and making the NBA Finals.
Now, they are looking like a very serious contender to return to the NBA Finals and possibly capture the franchise's first NBA Championship.
Instead of being afterthoughts or slammed for their ineptitude like in previous seasons, the Suns and Cardinals are now being lauded and praised on a national level.
Other teams are trying to emulate their quick turnarounds, using them and their formulas for success as examples of what they would like to do and accomplish.
For longtime fans of the two franchises the recent success of the Cardinals and Suns is all the sweeter after having experienced all the bitter moments in previous seasons.
And the future of both organizations looks very bright.
Success in sports, however, can be fleeting. The trajectory of a franchise can change for better or worse in an instant, as Cardinals and Suns fans now know all too well.
Enjoy it while it lasts, Arizona, because you never know how long it will last.
But there is no denying it.
It sure is fun being a Cardinals and Suns fan right now.
How insane would it be if both teams could bring home championships this season?
A couple of years ago, bringing up that question would have only been something in our wildest dreams.
Now, thanks to those amazing franchise turnarounds, it's not all that far-fetched.
What a difference a couple of years can make, indeed.
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