The CUA men’s football team came in close contact with the NFL this fall: The university hosted the Arizona Cardinals, who trained at the DuFour Center for several days between their away games against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 21 and the New York Jets on Sept. 28.
The Arizona team hoped that staying put on the East Coast instead of traveling to and from the Southwest would leave its players more rested and better prepared to face the Jets. Ultimately the rest stop didn’t help enough (the Jets won 56-35), but the visitors from Arizona did enjoy the university’s newly renovated football field and facilities.
“The facility is nice and the people are great,” Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt told The Arizona Republic. “The field is phenomenal,” said Mark Dalton, Arizona Cardinals’ vice president of media relations, referring to the state-of-the-art Field Turf synthetic surface installed at CUA’s Cardinal Stadium in 2006 — the same type of surface on which Arizona squared off against New York.
“Catholic University has been extremely gracious and [CUA Athletic Director] Mike Allen and his entire staff have absolutely bent over backwards to accommodate us,” Dalton told CUA’s Tower.
The Arizona Cardinals left behind some training equipment purchased for the week, for future use by CUA’s football team.
CUA and the Arizona team have more in common than just a name: Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwell graduated from CUA’s Columbus School of Law in 1990 and his mother, Nancy, is a trustee emeritus of the university. — M.M.
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