Dec 9, 2005, 8:19 AM EDT
I’ve been following the NFL since 1967 and I’ve never wanted anything that the Cardinals had, either in St. Louis or as Phoenix or Arizona. Until now, that is. Here is the artist’s rendition of their new stadium, which will finally open next season:
No, it’s not the retractable roof. I’m not real wild about those contraptions. Besides, it looks like when it’s open that the sun will shine on the field in disruptive patterns like you find at Texas Stadium.
The cool thing is what you see sticking out in front of it, the retractable field. Yes, a retractable field. From the brochure describing the stadium:
The first completely retractable field in North America, it will be positioned inside the stadium on game days to offer the preferred natural-grass playing surfact for football and outside the stadium for the remaining 350+ days of the year to receive sunlight and watering. The field tray will be powered by electric motors mounted on steel wheels rifing on tracks embedded in the concrete floor.
Now that’s cool. You don’t have to use fake grass and still have your semi-dome. It just goes to show you what you can do if someone backs up several dump trucks full of public money for you to build your stadium with. The brochure does note that the Cardinals “contributed” $120 million to the project, which will have a price tag in the vicinity of a half a billion dollars. Mighty big of you, Bill Bidwell. It probably about covered the cost of the retractable field.
The Cardinals’ owner is notorious for throwing around nickels like they were manhole covers. They are under the salary cap every year. For 2006 they are some $30 million under the projected cap. It will be interesting to see if he will put the cash that his mostly taxpayer funded palace into the team or into his pocket. The betting is that the manholes don’t travel far from Bidwell’s pocket.
The Redskins are a game behind a group of 7-5 teams that are fighting for the last Wild Card playoff spot. While it was pointed out here earlier this week that they might be able to afford one more loss and snare a playoff spot with nine wins, this is note one of the games that they can afford to lose. They have to build something called a winning streak, something they haven’t done since the first three games of the season. And you just can’t lose to the Cardinals, one of the worst teams in the league.
Out of the five phases of the game—passing, pass defense, running, run defense, and special teams—Arizona is respectable in one of them, the first one. Kurt Warner is finding Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin often enough to be able to string together four 300-yard passing games in his last five outings. Their special teams play was very good, especially the kicking, until Neil Rackers pulled a calf muscle in practice and wound up on the shelf. But they are dead last in the NFL in running the ball and mediocre at best defensively.
Washington hopes to be able to keep Warner and company off the field and control the clock by running Clinton Portis left, right, and up the middle. Look for them to go with the pitchout to Portis, the play that resulted in his 47-yard touchdown run in St. Louis, a bit more often than they have been.
The Redskins won against a mediocre team on the road last week somewhat easily. The game was not quite as close as even the 24-9 final score would indicate. They should be able to do the same this week. Unlike some times in the past when the Redskins have had the superior team and have gone into Arizona or St. Louis expecting to win easily only to be trapped, they won’t get caught looking past this game.
Redskins 28, Cardinals 14
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