Arizona Cardinals Reportedly Fire Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IDecember 31, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 16:  Head coach Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals watches from the sidelines during the NFL game against the Detroit Lions at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Lions 38-10.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After six seasons in the position, Ken Whisenhunt has been relieved of his head coaching duties with the Arizona Cardinals, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter:

Cardinals fired HC Ken Whisenhunt. Up to 7 HCs today.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 31, 2012

Arizona got off to a blistering start this season. It won its first four games, and that came after a strong close to the previous season. At that point, the Cardinals appeared to be headed toward the postseason.

Then the wheels fell completely off the bus, and the coach and general manager Rod Graves took the fall for it (via

The Cardinals lost their next nine games as they watched their shot at the postseason quickly disappear. The final loss in that streak was a 58-0 trouncing in Week 14 to the Seattle Seahawks. It was an ugly and embarrassing loss where it was fair to question if the team had quit. 

Even with one of the game's best receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals passing game, and offense as a whole, was terrible.

The regression was more than the brain trust of the Cardinals could tolerate, and they have now decided to go in a new direction.   

Whisenhunt took over as the head coach for the Cardinals in 2007, after serving as the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator prior to that. 

This was his first head coaching gig at any level. 

When Whisenhunt became head coach of the Cardinals, he made an instant impact. He took over a team that went 5-11 under Dennis Green the previous season and led Arizona to an 8-8 record. 

The following year, Whisenhunt led the Cardinals to a 9-7 record and a surprise run through the playoffs that didn't end until a late loss in the Super Bowl to the Steelers. 

The Cardinals went 10-6 the following year, but watched quarterback Kurt Warner retire that offseason, and they have not been the same since.

What he did for this franchise is amazing. Prior to Whisenhunt's arrival, the Cardinals had just one winning season since 1985.

Graves, who has been a part of the Cardinals franchise since 1997, guessed wrong on several quarterback projects in the post-Warner era, and that was likely the primary reason he was canned.

It is understandable that the Cardinals were ready to make a change, but Whisenhunt won't be out of work for long.