Last season, the Cardinals were 8-1 on the road and 3-5 at home. With such a large and unusual discrepancy, it seemed like something worth further investigation.
History of Murray and Kingsbury’s Pairing On The Cardinals
In 2018, the Cardinals had the worst record in the league at 3-13. That following offseason, they used their first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, a quarterback out of Oklahoma. They also hired former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury to a four-year deal, with a team option for the fifth year. Kingsbury was somewhat of a surprising hire, considering that he had a mere 35-40 record during his time at Texas Tech.
One thing Kingsbury specialized in, however, was offense and optimizing quarterback play. He worked with some great quarterbacks during his collegiate coaching career, including Case Keenum, Johnny Manziel, Baker Mayfield, and Patrick Mahomes. The league has shifted towards taking chances on unproven coaches with unique offensive schemes, largely due to the Los Angeles Rams’ success since taking in Sean McVay as their head coach. From that standpoint, the pairing of Kingsbury with Kyler Murray as his new quarterback project to take on made more sense than Kingsbury’s losing record at Texas Tech might have indicated on the surface.
While they still have their flaws, the Murray and Kingsbury pairing has come a long way together and is a huge reason why the Cardinals have become much more competitive since their dreaded 3-13 season in 2018. Let’s take a look at what they’ve accomplished together so far with the Cardinals.
Home and Road Records
2022: 3-4 overall, 1-3 home, 2-1 away
2021: 11-6 overall, 3-5 home, 8-1 away
2020: 8-8 overall, 4-4 home, 4-4 away
2019: 5-10-1 overall, 2-5-1 home, 3-5 away
The Cardinals are three and a half seasons into the Murray and Kingsbury pairing, which gives us a big enough sample size to say with more confidence that these home/road splits are not flukey. Here’s how these splits break down from a total win percentage standpoint:
Overall: 27-28-1 (49% wins)
Home: 10-17-1 (37% wins)
Road: 17-11 (61% wins)
Having a higher win percentage on the road, in general, is very strange, but the fact that it is about a fourteen percent difference between home and road games is quite the conundrum. For reference, in the NFL, the home team wins an average of 57.6% of the time. The Cardinals have been practically a .500 win team since 2019, meaning that their home win percentage should, in theory, be very close to the 57.6% mark mentioned. Instead, they are an entire twenty percentage points lower. This is quite the anomaly that the Cardinals organization needs to get to the root of.
According to Ben Owen of Wesleyan Argus, the teams with the best home win percentages over the past decade (as of his article in April 2021) have been the New England Patriots (84.7%), Baltimore Ravens (75.0%), Green Bay Packers (74.7%), Pittsburgh Steelers (71.1%), and New Orleans Saints (69.8%). These are historically great teams that have had plenty of combined playoff success.
Taking a quick glance at those five teams, one thing you instantly notice that they have in common is that they all have had elite quarterbacks in the past decade: Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Drew Brees. If Kyler Murray eventually wants to be in that conversation as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, he and Kliff Kingsbury will need to do a better job of taking care of business at home.
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