Ken Whisenhunt became one of seven NFL head coaches to lose his job at the end of the 2012 regular season but can count himself unlucky to be out of work after a poor season with Arizona was made to look worse following success in previous years.
Whisenhunt and general manager, Rod Graves, were axed just a day after the Cardinals lost 27-13 to Super Bowl hopefuls, San Francisco, in their final game of the 2012 season, finishing bottom of the NFC West with a 5-11 record.
The team finished with the second-worst offense in the NFL with just 15.6 points per game and the worst yardage average of 263.1.
The writing was on the wall when Whisenhunt oversaw Arizona’s 58-0 defeat to Seattle in week 14, a performance that effectively guaranteed that he would be fired come the New Year.
However, one factor that has not helped Whisenhunt’s cause is the fact that he was so good when he came into the Cardinals camp six years ago.
Whisenhunt turned around a 5-11 team in 2006 to a 9-7 team by 2008 that went on to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in the franchise’s history. The Cardinals reached the divisional playoffs in 2009 and were tipped by betting news pundits to push on after back-to-back successful seasons.
Yet three years without a winning record followed and Whisenhunt just could not maintain their achievements, much to the chagrin of fans who bet on NFL. In an official statement, the 50-year-old said the team had “accomplished some very special and unprecedented things” over his tenure and indeed he has done so.
That Super Bowl berth remains the Cardinal’s greatest ever achievement and nothing but a future victory can take that away from Whisenhunt. Sadly, however, it appears that success went some way to contributing to his downfall, as the 2011 and 2012 seasons were made to look worse than they were after such positive previous campaigns.