Arizona Cardinals Fire Coach Tobin

Vince Tobin, who coached Arizona to its first playoff victory in 51 years two seasons ago, was fired today — a day after the Cardinals lost to the Dallas Cowboys 48-7.

Defensive coordinator Dave McGinnis was hired as interim coach for the rest of the season.

“I’m very sad to see coach Tobin go,” quarterback Jake Plummer said, “but at the same time I’m excited in a way to see coach McGinnis come in and bring some new philosophies and some things that might help this team. I think you’re going to see a fired-up ball club that’s going to be ready to play.”

Tobin’s firing came with the Cardinals in last place in the NFC East and two weeks before a vote in Maricopa County on a proposed $331 million stadium for the team.

Looking for Answers

Tobin had a 29-44 record in 4½ seasons as head coach. In 1998, he directed the team to a 9-7 regular season, its only winning campaign since the franchise moved to Arizona from St. Louis in 1988.

The Cardinals made the playoffs for the first time since 1982, then beat the Cowboys in Dallas for their first playoff victory since the NFL championship game 51 years earlier.

However, the team stumbled to 6-10 last season and was 2-5 this year.

Plummer said he would always be grateful to Tobin for making him a starter as a rookie and sticking with him through some tough times.

“Obviously you can’t fire 54 players,” Plummer said. “The sick thing is we are good, talented football players. You look at the guys we have, a lot of them could start on other teams. Why is it not happening? We have to find that answer.

“Whether coach was a scapegoat or not, we still have nine games left, we have to find an answer and get it done and win this weekend.”

‘We’re All to Blame’

The loss in Dallas was the Cardinals’ largest margin of defeat since 1981, and team president William Bidwill would not endorse Tobin afterward.

“We’re all disappointed, but now is not the time to go beyond that,” Bidwill said.

Defensive end Andre Wadsworth, still not playing while recovering from knee surgery, said he noticed that the morale had been at an all-time low the past couple of weeks.

“As the head coach, he takes the brunt of everything,” Wadsworth said. “You can’t blame him for everything. He’s part of it, but we’re all to blame.”

Former Defensive Coordinator

Tobin, quiet and mild-mannered, was often referred to in the local media as “Coach Beige.” He grew up in a small town in Missouri, and was defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts before he was named head coach of the Cardinals in 1996.

Tobin was hired to replace Buddy Ryan, who was 4-12 in his second season with Arizona.

McGinnis, whose fiery personality is in marked contrast to Tobin’s, nearly took the head coaching job with the Chicago Bears last year, but pulled out moments before he was to appear at a news conference. McGinnis was linebackers coach for the Bears from 1986 to 1995.

The Cardinals are investing heavily in the stadium vote. There is widespread speculation the team may move elsewhere if the vote is not successful.

The measure would use hotel and motel tax revenue and rental car surcharge to fund most of the stadium’s cost.