“I have great respect for the San Diego Chargers,” Whisenhunt said. “Every time I’ve played them, they’ve been good football teams and we had battles whether I was in the AFC or the NFC. (I’m impressed) with the way they do business, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for them…Playing here at this stadium, it’s always been a tough place to play. The fans from what I’ve seen, they’ve always been great. That’s something where any time you get home field advantage like that, it’s a big positive.”
Whisenhunt also has great admiration for the Spanos family.
“From my brief involvement since I’ve been a head coach, I’ve also had great respect for the Spanos family,” he said. “A couple years ago they came out for a week when they had the fires out here and used our facilities, so I had a chance to meet them. I really enjoyed that. I think you have to have great respect for what they’ve done and how they brought this franchise along.”
Whisenhunt began in Arizona in 2007. The team made great strides in his first season, compiling an 8-8 record after going 5-11 the season before. It was the first time the Cardinals did not have a losing record since 1998.
The next season was a banner year for Whisenhunt and the Cardinals. They finished 9-7 and won the NFC West title, the first division championship for the team since 1975. It was also Arizona’s first trip to the playoffs since 1998. The Cardinals ended up making it all the way to Super Bowl XLII (their lone appearance in the championship game in franchise history), where they fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23 in one of the most exciting Super Bowls to date.
Whisenhunt had his most successful regular season in 2009 as the team went 10-6 and won their second consecutive NFC West title. The Cardinals won on wild card weekend before falling to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round.
The last three seasons were difficult ones for the Cardinals, who failed to make the playoffs largely due to uncertainly and struggles at the quarterback position. Whisenhunt parted ways with Arizona at the end of the 2012 season.