Arizona Cardinals Hire Bruce Arians as Head Coach, Ray Horton out

Jonathan Cullen@@jcullen71Senior Writer IJanuary 17, 2013

Arians will be charged with fixing the Cardinals' offense.
Arians will be charged with fixing the Cardinals' offense.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The breaking news is in, the Arizona Cardinals have hired Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians as their next head coach, according to this report from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

This was later confirmed tonight by the Cardinals' official twitter account with this tweet.

News of the Cardinals interviewing Arians broke Wednesday night as Arians was having dinner with management, according to Arizona Sports KTAR. Arians had moved to the front of the pack yesterday, mentioned in this report from Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk.

Adam Schefter from ESPN details that the deal with be for four years with a team option for a fifth season.

Arians is the likely NFL Coach of the Year for his exceptional work with the Colts, providing stability and leadership during head coach Chuck Pagano's absence due to leukemia.

With Arians coaching, the Colts went 9-3 during Pagano's leave, and they were arguably the feel-good story of this NFL season.

Make no mistake, the 60-year-old Arians is a potentially great hire for the Cards at this stage of the game.

But not if it came at the expense of Ray Horton.

Mike Jurecki of XTRA Sports 910 reports that Horton and newly promoted general manager Steve Keim had a heated conversation after Arians was hired.

Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports reports that Horton is gone and Todd Bowles will be the new defensive coordinator. That was confirmed by Pro Football Talk's Florio.

Horton must wonder what he did so wrong to the have the Cardinals look at every offensive coordinator they could talk to. Horton's biggest flaw was that he coached defense—the only area of strength on the team.

With the Cardinals being the last of the eight NFL teams to close their coaching vacancy, the concern grew that they weren't going to get a good hire.

Andy Reid signed with the Kansas City Chiefs before talking with the Cards, and Mike McCoy signed on with the San Diego Chargers due to having a better quarterback and a much weaker division to work in.

The team also talked with Darrell Bevell, Todd Haley and Jay Gruden at different points during the search.

If Arians had kept Horton and the defensive staff in place for next season, this would have truly been a great move for the Cards. The Cards would have been retooling the offense with someone who has a resume of success with an established defense in place.

Now it looks like they have given the new coach, Arians, too much power, reverting back to the problems they had with former head coach Ken Whisenhunt.

The Cardinals will surely open themselves to criticism for the way they have treated Horton.

This article from Yahoo! Sports' Silver expresses the concern that all of the head coach openings have gone to white coaches and minorities are hardly getting a look.

Fair or not, the Cardinals seemingly chose one coordinator over another coordinator. Horton had kept the Cardinals' last two seasons from becoming a complete disaster. You're supposed to reward that type of performance, not punish it.

Now that his reward for that is a pink slip, the Cardinals made the wrong move.

The Bruce Arians era is off to a bad start.


Information used from Twitter, NFL, Pro Football Talk, Arizona Sports, ESPN, Yahoo Sports