Let’s be honest, sports are glorified reality shows. Viewers of sports and “The Bachelorette” alike laugh, cry, lament, and celebrate as they watch the actions of other human beings unfold. Knowing this, NFL Films partnered up with the Arizona Cardinals and released a profound sports documentary titled “All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals”. It is an Amazon exclusive mini-series that provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of an NFL season.
Arizona Cardinals Become Stars In “All or Nothing”
Who Shined Brightest?
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is clearly the star of the show. Every time Arians’ red Kangol hat is visible, comedy is around the corner. “If there’s a sign on a parking place anywhere in this facility, don’t park in [my spot] or I’ll tow your ass.”
Arians Lesson #1: Don’t ever park your car in his parking spot.
Don’t get it twisted, Arians is a fun-loving head coach who pays special attention to detail. Whether he was filmed in the film room or the kitchen, his genuine personality and will to win were on full display.
Coming into the series, David Johnson has as much experience as NFL Films has following a team around all season long: none. Episode 1 shows the 2015 Cardinals Draft war room. The staff settled on picking running back Ameer Abdullah, but to their dismay he was drafted before their turn. Having to move quickly, the Cardinals settled on Johnson. He didn’t disappoint. He scored 13 touchdowns and amassed 1,038 yards from scrimmage during his rookie year.
As a perennial Pro Bowler, Patrick Peterson doesn’t have much to prove to the average NFL fan. Nevertheless, his work ethic and leadership are crucial to how far the Arizona Cardinals advance. Following a sloppy 19-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers, Peterson calls an impromptu meeting for the defensive backs at 11:00 AM the very next morning.
As dedicated as Peterson is on the field, he is dedicated at home as well. Peterson became a father on Thanksgiving, missing practice to help his wife give birth to baby Peyton (yes, she’s named after Peyton Manning).
Tyrann Mathieu, also known as the Honey Badger, is a fan and locker room favorite. His “It’s our time, we’ve lost too much!” speech sets the tone for the Cardinals at a pivotal point in the season. From his fiery celebrations to his resolve despite a season-ending ACL tear, Mathieu helps make “All or Nothing” extraordinary.
An undying symbol of consistency, Larry Fitzgerald remains the true catalyst for the Cardinals. Throughout the series and season, he shines brightest in the midst of adversity. When Arians asks him to become a slot receiver knowing how tough it would be, Fitz complies, putting the team first.
The greatest test of Fitzgerald’s resilience is in the NFC Divisional Round. With no time on the clock, Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers complete an improbable ‘Hail Mary’ and force overtime. Larry Fitzgerald isn’t fazed. Two receptions and 80 yards later, Fitzgerald wills his Cardinals to the NFC Championship Game.
These players are just a few of the reasons why “All or Nothing” is great. It provides an unprecedented insight into the ups and downs of the NFL season. That quality may change the reality television aspect of NFL football forever.
Bruce Arians ends the last episode with another tremendous quote.
“During the season when you lose a game, there’s another game. So you have a 24-hour rule. It’s over. For this one you’ve got a seven-month rule. You’ve gotta eat this one for a long time.”
The good news for Coach Arians is that August is almost here. In less than a month, his Cardinals will be focused on winning it, all or nothing, yet again.