Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt (Source: azcardinals.com)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Arizona Cardinals General Manager Rod Graves and head coach Ken Whisenhunt have been fired.
Just after noon Monday, the Arizona Cardinals sent the following tweet: "The @AZCardinals announce that General Manager Rod Graves and Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt have been relieved of their duties. #AZCards"
The Cardinals also announced Monday that Russ Grimm, Mike Miller and the rest of the offensive staff have been let go as well.
On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Cardinals 27-13. The win gave the 49ers the second straight NFC West title.
It was Brian Hoyer's first career NFL start as Arizona's fourth quarterback. The Cardinals (5-11) lost for the 11th time in their last 12 games.
In a news conference on Monday afternoon, Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said the decision came down to wins and losses over the past three seasons and the direction of the program.
Bidwill went on to say it was a tough day but that it's part of the NFL business.
Whisenhunt released the following statement Monday afternoon:
"Coaching the Cardinals has been an incredible and rewarding experience and I will always be grateful to Mr. Bidwill, Michael and Rod for giving me that opportunity back in 2007. I'm very proud of what we as a team and as an organization achieved during that time. Collectively we accomplished some very special and unprecedented things. That's a testament to the dedication, hard work and talent of so many coaches, players and people throughout the organization.
"But we all understand this business and when you don't win enough games changes are made. That doesn't mean it's easy but you definitely don't have to look far to find people that have it much worse. I want to especially thank Cardinals fans who treated my family and me so well and made our time in Arizona so special. While this chapter ends for us, we are hopeful that the ones ahead of us will be as enriching as this one has been."
According to the Cardinals' website, Whisenhunt became an NFL head coach for the first time when hired by Arizona in January of 2007. Whisenhunt spent the previous six seasons with the Steelers as tight ends coach and then as offensive coordinator.
Whisenhunt led the Cardinals to NFC West titles in 2008 and '09, the team's first back-to-back division crowns since 1974-75, and also guided Arizona to its first NFC Championship and Super Bowl appearance, according to the Cardinals.
Graves issued this statement on Monday:
"I am very grateful to Michael Bidwill, to his family, to the players and to the staff of the Arizona Cardinals for the opportunity to serve the organization. Working with talented others to build and enhance our brand over the past 16 years has been an awesome and totally enriching experience.
"It has been the opportunity that others only dream of. Every day I came to work I viewed it as the ultimate privilege and never once lost sight of that. My time with the Cardinals has ended but the organization and the people in it will always have a special place within me."
This year was Graves' 16th season with the Cardinals organization after joining the team in 1997 as the assistant to the president, according to his team biography.
Bidwill said defensive coordinator Ray Horton is a candidate to fill Whisenhunt's position.
Bidwill also said Andy Reid is also someone they are interested in. Reid's 14-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles ended Monday when he was fired.
Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on this developing story.
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