Cardinals Training Camp Named Tops in NFL by CBSSports.com Writer
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - CBSSports.com senior writer Clark Judge recently named his favorite five training camp spots in the NFL and Northern Arizona University ranked tops on the list.
NAU was ranked first on the list ahead of the Buffalo Bills at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, NY., the Seattle Seahawks in Renton, Wash., the Oakland Raiders in Napa, Calif., and Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis.
Judge noted the “clean, clean air” and “picture-postcard town” that was full of “nice people” and “evergreens everywhere”.
The Arizona Cardinals training camp site on the NAU practice fields has garnered national attention numerous times over the years. Sports Illustrated rated the training facilities at NAU as the third-best in the National Football League in 2007 and pictures from camp have graced the popular Leading Off section in both 2003 and 2009.
Last year, NAU and the Arizona Cardinals were featured in the August 10, 2009 edition of Sports Illustrated with a two-page spread titled “Back to School”. NAU was also featured in the same section of Leading Off with a shot from a Cardinals practice showcasing the San Francisco Peaks in the August 4, 2003 edition.
The Arizona Cardinals will report to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff to begin their 2010 training camp the night of Friday, July 30 and begin practice the following day on Saturday, July 31. The Cardinals will break camp on Saturday, August 21.
My Five Favorite Training Camps
By Clark Judge, CBSSports.com senior writer
1. Arizona Cardinals at Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, Ariz.: Clean, clear air. Picture-postcard town. Nice people. Mountains to the north. Evergreens everywhere. And the Cardinals in the middle of all of it. What's wrong with this picture? I'll tell you what: Absolutely nothing.
2. Buffalo Bills at St. John Fisher College, Pittsford, N.Y.: Not only can you get up close and personal with the Bills, but players and coaches routinely stop to talk to fans and sign autographs after practices. The setting is perfect, a small town in western New York that is so picturesque Marriott put a combination hotel/spa here. After practice, tool on down to the Erie Canal, rent a bike and enjoy the view. Then stop in at the Coal Tower and send me the postcard.
3. Seattle Seahawks at Renton, Wash.: It's so close to Lake Washington that when the Seahawks recruit high-profile free agents (T.J. Houshmandzadeh, come on down) they fly them in by seaplane. The Seahawks have a state-of-the-art building, with the best of everything at their disposal ... except, maybe, their roster. It's time to find players who can return Seattle to the top of the NFC West, guys.
4. Oakland Raiders in Napa, Calif.: It's the wine country, and it's gorgeous. Cool mornings. Hot afternoons. St. Helena and Calistoga to the north, and Healdsburg to the far, far north. Sonoma to the west. And the Napa Running Company in the heart of downtown Napa. If you're hungry, the Red Hen Cantina is less than a mile down the road. There is nothing missing here ... except Ken Stabler and Cliff Branch.
5. Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis.: I promise that one of these summers I'll have my daughter join the crowd and ride her bike with one of the Packers to Ray Nitschke Field. It's a time-honored practice and one of the most cherished rites of summer training camp. To appreciate it, you must see it. Then you know why Green Bay loves its football team. There is no other camp in the world like this, and hallelujah. When you're in Green Bay in August, all is right with the world. The Pack is back, every day is Take Your Kid to Work Day, and the only thing you have to shovel is another brat down the spout.