Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury received a text message from the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes — Kingsbury’s quarterback at Texas Tech — just before the NFL schedule released on Thursday.
Mahomes sent Kingsbury the eyes emoji, as he learned the Chiefs and Cardinals had a date in Week 1.
“I was really thankful to the schedule makers for giving us a young quarterback that hadn’t quite found his way in the league just yet,” Kingsbury joked. “It’ll be fun. … He’ll be revved up. We’ll definitely have some Texas Tech fans tuning into that one.”
Kingsbury spoke to reporters on Friday at Arizona’s rookie mini-camp, and the schedule was one of the main topics of discussion.
The 2022 Schedule has arrived.
📺 2022 Schedule Release on NFLN pic.twitter.com/ngfBaPEbDI
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) May 13, 2022
The Cardinals have four primetime games and start the year with four playoff teams in the opening five weeks.
Arizona will be without star receiver DeAndre Hopkins for that stretch due to a six-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, but Kingsbury said getting him back in Week 7 will provide a boost for the rest of the season.
The Cardinals struggled in primetime last season, but their head coach is looking forward to more opportunities.
“You can’t ask for, to me, a better setup when you look at some of those games,” Kingsbury said.
“Get a team like the Chiefs to see where you’re at, play Bill Belichick on Monday night, play Tom Brady on Christmas. I mean, there’s some big time-games. Go to Mexico City to play a rival, I mean, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
Kingsbury also singled out his excitement to face the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 2. Josh McDaniels was hired as head coach this offseason, and Kingsbury was on the New England Patriots in 2003 when McDaniels was an assistant coach.
Plus, longtime Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones is now with Las Vegas.
The Cardinals have the second-hardest schedule in the league based on 2021 winning percentages. Kingsbury underplayed that with a point that every schedule has its challenges.
“AFC West, lining up with them this year with getting Russell (Wilson) is a challenge,” Kingsbury said. “Anytime you look at an NFL schedule, it’s not like you can go down and pick a bunch of wins. They’re all tough and everybody’s facing kind of the same deal.”