The 2023 season ushered in a new era of Cardinals football in the Valley. Even though the record isn't what the team and fan base had hoped for, there were still a lot of memories to take away from Jonathan Gannon's first season as Cardinals head coach.
Let's take a look back at some of the top moments from the 2023 season.
Fan support from near and far
Bird Gang, you outdid yourself this season and your love was felt from all across the globe. It wouldn't be a Cardinals game without Tailgate Troy, the Cardinals 2023 Fan of the Year who has been a long-time staple. Troy was always seen wearing a Cardinals chain and funky visor, all while hyping up the crowd.
In the rain against the Pittsburgh Steelers, no weather was going to stop this Cardinals fan from cheering on running back James Conner in his return to the Steel City. Sitting through two different weather delays was certainly worth it as the Cardinals came away with the victory.
Even on the other side of the pond, Stu and Jack from the United Kingdom made their way to a handful of Cardinals games this season. From Australia to Scottsdale, Mexico to Phoenix, Ireland to Tempe, New Zealand to Glendale and all throughout the Valley and the country, the Bird Gang is one of a kind.
Luketa's driving situation
Towards the end of the 2022 season, linebacker Jesse Luketa made headlines after calling J.J. Watt following news of his retirement while under anesthesia. In 2023, he had another moment that crossed the national media landscape. On the way to State Farm Stadium ahead of a Week 12 matchup against the Rams, Luketa's car had a notification that there was low tire pressure. After pulling into the closest gas station, still 30 minutes away from the stadium, there was a problem.
The tire was flat and wouldn't take in air. Once panic set in, Luketa, scrambling to try and find a way to get to the game, peeked over and saw a family decked out in Cardinals gear getting gas. The Phillips family was also on their way to the game to watch Luketa and the Cardinals take on the Rams. After asking for a ride to the stadium, the family graciously gave Luketa a lift.
At the next home game, the Phillips family was given sideline passes, tickets, a VIP parking spot, and revved up the Big Red Air Raid Siren before the game. The genuine kindness from the family allowed Luketa to arrive at the game on time and provided a moment unlike any other this season.
"They're the best fans in America," Luketa said.
Hollywood Brown leaps into stands
If your nickname is Hollywood, you ought to be prepared to have a picture worthy moment at any given time. Against the Bengals in Week 5, Hollywood Brown scored a second-quarter touchdown. After getting into the end zone, Brown wanted to join the Bird Gang and leaped into the stands to join the celebration. With fans patting Brown on the helmet and cheering together, it made for an iconic memory.
Celebrating the wins
The first win in the Gannon era came against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3. Gannon might not have liked being on the receiving end of the Gatorade bath, but the celebration sentiment was shared by plenty throughout the organization. There was fun after over the Falcons, Steelers, and Eagles. Three of the Cardinals' victories were against teams in the playoffs. In Philadelphia, once James Conner scored the game-winning touchdown as the clock was winding down, general manager Monti Ossenfort and owner Michael Bidwill embraced one another as the Linc went silent. Here's to looking forward to more wins next season.
Form gridiron into the community
Defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter was named the Cardinals nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year. Ledbetter, along with many of his teammates, emphasized giving back to the community and providing them with lifelong memories and support. T.A.P.S. and the Cardinals held an equine therapy event at Hunkapi for Gold Star families. The families were also invited to attend the Salute to Service Cardinals game against the Falcons.
Conner, Luketa, linebackers Dennis Gardeck and Zaven Collins and others attended a high school football game supporting Kevin Winegar, a high school student that was diagnosed with Leukemia. Winegar and his family were at a few Cardinals games this season as well.
Quarterback Kyler Murray immersed himself in the community as well, attending the first sanctioned high school girls flag football game and hosting a back-to-school event prior to the season. That's not even scratching the surface of all the community events in which players and the team took part.
There are so many moments to choose from this season and it's all thanks to you, Bird Gang.