"All or Nothing," the groundbreaking series which followed the Cardinals from the start of the 2015 season through the NFC Championship game, is currently streaming on Amazon. NFL Films was given unprecedented access into both the professional and personal lives of the team's players, coaches and executives, resulting in thousands of hours of footage and eight one-hour episodes.
NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD.
EPISODE SIX: "ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS"
Episode Summary: The title of the sixth episode is certainly fitting, as the Cardinals are hoping to rev up for the approaching playoffs while safety Tyrann Mathieu's season ends with a torn ACL. It's clear how much Mathieu means to the team after the grim prognosis is confirmed, as coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer get misty-eyed talking about the injury. The team bounces back for the Packers game, putting on an incredible defensive display in the blowout win. The Seahawks game wraps up the episode, and it was interesting to watch defensive coordinator James Bettcher in practice leading up, as he was exasperated with the lack of effort.
It seemed like the coaches knew what was coming, and Seattle dominated from start to finish as the Cardinals finished the season 13-3 and the No. 2 seed in the NFC. While Arians' team was safely in the postseason, it was a rough Black Monday after the regular season ended as he watched many peers lose jobs. Arians and his wife, Chris, talked about that and more over sandwiches and a drink to close out the episode.
Most Riveting Scene: It was heartbreaking to watch team president Michael Bidwill discuss the loss of his dog, Reilly. Bidwill rescued her one day before a planned euthanasia, but Reilly battled cancer throughout her life and eventually succumbed to kidney failure. An emotional Bidwill explained how much he missed Reilly in a quick but poignant interview from his office within the team's training facility.
Something We Learned: Dwight Freeney can really cook. He made chicken for his fellow outside linebackers in the team cafeteria, and it was so good that Alex Okafor didn't believe he cooked it. Freeney then turned the attention to his expertise on the field, explaining to his young understudies that there's no wrong way to get after a quarterback. Freeney said his spin move was frowned upon early in his career because it put his back to the quarterback, but without it, Freeney wouldn't have put together such a distinguished career.
Stars of the Episode: It's hard to take your eyes off Arians, who is so enthralling that it's hard not to nod your head in agreement with every point he makes. Freeney, Palmer and Mathieu all played big roles as well.
Line of the Episode: "I wasn't finished showing the world what I had. That's the hardest part about it. I wasn't done." – Mathieu shortly after doctors confirmed he had torn his ACL against the Eagles.
What was your favorite part of "Endings and Beginnings?" Leave your reaction in the comments below.
Behind the scene images as the Cardinals cheerleaders prepare for the season.