Larry Fitzgerald is undeniably one of the most friendly, non-controversial and talented players in the NFL. He’s been a consummate professional during his complete tenure with the Arizona Cardinals. Instead of looking elsewhere to play when his rookie contract was up, he decided to stay with the Cardinals because that’s the type of person he is: Loyal. He could have gotten big money from a contender, but he knew who drafted him.
Loyalty is something that has become a lost art in professional sports today across the board. It’s not unheard of for a team to play for two teams in the same division in this new age of sports… A huge faux pas not two decades ago.
Forbes’ Magazine has named Fitzgerald the Most-Liked Player in the NFL — yikes. It sounds fantastic on the surface, obviously. However, as the leader of an NFL team, appearing weak for even an instance could be a death sentence. “Most-Liked” can be linked to “soft,” which is not a good four-letter word in professional sports, especially professional football.
This “award” for Fitzgerald is NOT a good thing. Granted, yes, it is a good thing to be a good person and live your life the way he does. That’s undeniable. Unequivocal. However, while on the field, leaders need to command. They need to be able to demand respect, not just by the numbers they produce. What would happen if Fitz was more like Ray Lewis? Or Tom Brady? Both those two have had their alleged indiscretions off the field. On the field, though, they’re both leaders, winners and feared. Do players fear Fitzgerald? I’m sure to an extent. But do they really fear him? Would the Cardinals be better of if he was meaner; ruthless but still within the guidelines of the NFL rules?
Aside from the Kurt Warner years, the Arizona Cardinals have lived in mediocrity. Fitzgerald has been the shining star. Just wondering if the shining star turned into the meteor from Armageddon, so to speak, that maybe it would be the spark that both the Arizona Cardinals and the city of Phoenix needs to become a successful franchise for years to come.