Now that the Kyler Murray-Kliff Kingsbury confrontation near halftime of Thursday night’s game has gone viral, and there isn’t anyone that hasn’t offered an opinion of what it means, if anything (some have even suggested free agents might choose not to come to Arizona because of it; really?), it’s instructive to go back in time to almost a year ago when Murray was sidelined by a high-ankle sprain.

Murray had missed two games at that point, and he was getting closer to playing again.

So it was that during a media availability, Kingsbury was asked about the relationship with his quarterback. When it was noted that Murray has some of the same traits in his personality, Kingsbury was then asked about their connection and if they can help each other.

That’s when Kingsbury, who at times has ventured into talking about the TV shows he watches or other sidebar items, went somewhere no one would have expected.

“Definitely,” Kingsbury quickly answered. “And we butt heads. I mean, we’re both Leos.”

Really? An NFL coach pointing out that he and Murray have the same Zodiac sign? And, knowing what that means? I wondered if any NFL coach in history had ever done that.

Furthermore, after checking out their birthdays, an eerie coincidence emerged.

Kingsbury was born on Aug. 9, 1979, while Murray’s birthday is Aug. 7, 1997. Look at the numerology: Kingsbury 8/9/79 and Murray 8/7/97. The years they were born are flipped: ’79 and ’97, while their dates of birth are also 7 and 9. After the month, Kingsbury is 979 and Murray 797. Cue The Twilight Zone music.

So, what does being a Leo mean to Kingsbury? Mostly being “super competitive. So we’ll butt heads. And I think that kind of has us go at each other at times. But we both know, it’s from a great place. And like I said, at the end of the day, he knows I’m tied to him. He knows that we’re tied together. And we just got to find a way to get it done. And we both approach it from that aspect.”

The respect Kingsbury has for Murray is immense, going back to when he wasn’t in the NFL yet, but said if he was, he’d select Murray No. 1 overall in the draft. Of course, he eventually did.

Asked about that evaluation, Murray said, “He kind of helped me out a little bit. He’s always felt that way about my game, ever since high school. He came to visit me, always hit me up on Twitter, just recruiting me and stuff like that. So I always knew how he felt about my game. Even though I was at Oklahoma and he was at (Texas) Tech, he was watching me, talking to my pop, stuff like that. So yeah, he definitely did a lot when he said that.”

Kingsbury said, “I’d rather have a tie to him than about 99 percent of the quarterbacks in the NFL. So I just have always thought his upside, his top, top, is as good as anybody I’ve ever seen. And so it’s been fun to work with him and try to figure this thing out.”

Surely, they are still figuring it out, but it wasn’t surprising that after the comeback win over the Raiders this season in Week 2, Kingsbury called Murray “a gift from God.”

For the record, here is how Leos are described on

“Roll out the red carpet, because Leo has arrived. Leo is represented by the lion, and these spirited fire signs are the kings and queens of the celestial jungle. They’re delighted to embrace their royal status: Vivacious, theatrical, and passionate. These lions are natural leaders.

“This fixed sign is known for its ambition and determination, but above all, Leos are celebrated for their remarkable bravery. In tarot, Leo is represented by the ‘strength’ card, which depicts the divine expression of physical, mental, and emotional fortitude. Fearless optimists who refuse to accept failure, Leos will find their deep wells of courage grow as they mature.

“Being natural-born leaders, the primary strengths of Leo are courage and confidence. Being born with a sunny, solar disposition, they usually find it easy to feel happy, enthusiastic, and optimistic. When embarking on their journeys and endeavors in life, those with strong, well-supported Leo chart placements rarely question themselves and can usually access a strong baseline of self-assuredness.”

Which brings is to Thursday night, only 18 days after the two also had a “conversation” at the end of the first half during the Week 4 win over Carolina.

When asked afterward what it was about, Kingsbury dead-panned, “I was just seeing after the game what he wanted to eat. If we should bring him something separate, or just kind of go with the standard team meal.”

As for what meal he would recommend, the coach said, “Salmon. Yeah, salmon.”

Thursday, with the Cardinals trailing 14-6, Kingsbury was decidedly animated on the sideline as the play-clock wound down and a timeout had to be called. As Murray came to the sideline, naturally with the national TV cameras focused on him, Murray yelled, “Calm the f— down, calm the f— down,” and continued his verbal fuselage.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins inserted himself in between them, acting as a peacemaker. After calm ensued, running back Keaontay Ingram scored on a 2-yard run. A 2-point conversion pass attempt to Hopkins failed. But cornerback Chris Harris Jr. was flagged for holding Hopkins. The ball was moved to the 1-yard line and running back Eno Benjamin ran it in to tie the game.

Kingsbury was first up after the game and downplayed the incident.

“I mean that was just one of those things on the field. We had a difference of opinion,” he said.

When asked what was said, Kingsbury answered, “He said I didn’t look good on TV acting that fiery. I guess it’s a Gen Z thing. You’re on TV, so calm down. I like showing emotion.”

Hello Leo.

Commenting on other instances when emotions have escalated during games and asked if all is OK, Kingsbury said, “I mean it’s good. I think we’re working through as an offense where we want to be and what we want to do. When you have competitors that have a level of intensity like that, I think it’ll keep pushing us forward.”

Murray said, “He gets really animated on the sideline sometimes, so I just said, ‘Calm down. We’re good.’ We ended up scoring, so that was good. That’s all that was said.”

Were you upset about the timeout being called?

“No,” Murray said. “The clock was running down and we couldn’t have gotten off the play that we were trying to run, so I guess that was my fault.”

Murray was also asked about Kingsbury’s personality and said, “He’s usually chill. Until Sunday.”

Like Kingsbury, Murray said it’s no big deal.

“It doesn’t phase me and I don’t think it phases him,” he said. “We’re just trying to win. It’s an in-the-moment kind of thing. After that, we’re good.”

It was left to Hopkins to come up with the line of the night, when he was asked about his role as the peacemaker. What did you say, DeAndre?

“That’s undisclosed information right there,” he said. “Both of those guys want to win, and I love to see that, I love being a part of a team where two people are dedicated and so focused on winning and obviously you’re going to butt heads. I’m not married, but from what I hear that’s like a marriage.”


The next day during his media conference, Kingsbury was asked about the optics of what occurred and whether there’s a point where Murray might “cross the line.”

Claiming he hadn’t seen it (“I went to bed and came here and got ready for team meetings.”), Kingsbury simply said, “It was an emotional game. Incredible atmosphere in there. Everybody’s intense and rocking and that’s just part of the game.”

As an addendum to the story, Hopkins revealed on the Thursday Night Football postgame show that he called a players only meeting during the short week and “made sure Kyler was the first one to go up there and speak. I feel like he needed to do that, the team needed to hear him and I feel like he took a step from last week to this week.”

Asked about the meeting, Kingsbury said, “I don’t have any moles in that deal. I could hear a little yelling as I was walking out, so I think it was pretty intense. I know that guys probably spoke up, backed it up. The Hops, the Buddas (Baker) and the guys that were out there making big-time plays yesterday.”

As for Hopkins pushing Murray to talk first, Kingsbury said, “He’s the leader of this team and as we all know, as he goes we go. He’s that type of a talent, that type of a player. He means that much to this football team. I think that was a big step.”

The move by Hopkins was part of making his presence felt returning from a six-game suspension. He communicated with all the players during the week. Aside from coming between Murray and Kingsbury, he also greeted linebacker Isaiah Simmons in the end zone after his interception and ran with him near the seats at the back of the end zone.

It wasn’t unexpected for a Gemini, which is where Hopkins’ June 6 birthday falls.

From a combination of astrology sites, “When it comes to important matters, Geminis become more dependable than other people who are generally deemed as more grounded. People born on June 6 benefit from being talkative, adventurous and friendly. Just like a true Gemini, they are witty and funny, even at the same time. Those born under this sign enjoy situations where they can freely express their opinions.”

Also, Geminis often feel like “they’re pulled in different directions. Their two-sided personality means it’s possible for a Gemini to be energetic and thrilling as well as shy and demure.”

How do Geminis and Leo interact? “Leo is a fire sign and Gemini is an air sign. If we look to nature, fire and air combine to create a big, impressive fireball.”

Fitting for what we witnessed Thursday and likely will see going forward.

Perhaps the message for everyone should be, pardon my French: “Calm the f— down!”

Thanks for reading. It would be great if you subscribe to read all the content at including the Cardinals and remember to use code HOWARD when you do that.

Also, don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions on Twitter @hbalzer721 or email me:


Howard Balzer is in his 47th year covering professional football as a writer, editor and broadcaster and has covered 41 Super Bowls. His connection with pro football began in 1976 with College and Pro Football Newsweekly, and since then he has been a featured columnist for The Sporting News, Pro Football Weekly, USA Today Sports Weekly and The Sports Xchange. Balzer moved to St. Louis in 1978 to work for The Sporting News, where he became Pro Football Editor in 1979. He was an analyst on ESPN's initial broadcast of the NFL Draft in 1980 and continued in that role through 1988. He has won seven writing awards in the Professional Football Writers of America competition, won an Emmy for commentaries on KPLR-TV in St. Louis in 1986 and was nominated for an Emmy in 1988 and 1990. He was named the 2016 winner of the Bob Broeg Media Award presented by the St. Louis/Tom Lombardo Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. The award is for enthusiasm, integrity, professionalism and devotion to the game of football and is reserved for individuals whose contributions to football in the St. Louis area have made a significant difference. Balzer was an officer (secretary and secretary/treasurer) for the Professional Football Writers of America for 33 years and was inducted into the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. Balzer relocated to the Phoenix area in 2020 as the publisher of the FanNation AllCardinals site and is now the Cardinals reporter for PHNX. He is entering his 19th year as one of 49 voting members on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is also on the Hall's Seniors Committee. He is the co-host of the weekly Pro Football Hall of Fame radio show on SiriusXM NFL Radio and is a part-time host at ArizonaSports 98.7 FM.