'All or Nothing' recap: Bruce Arians is a force of nature

One minute into the new documentary series, All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals, and you know exactly who will star in the eight episodes that lie ahead.

His name is Bruce Arians and he is a force of nature.

"Every year in the NFL it's a new team," the Cardinals coach says to his players before the start of the 2015 season. "As far as goals, we have one: Puttin' a f-----' ring on our finger. Not a Super Bowl, a Super Bowl ring. You go to win the b----."

It's an endearingly salty pep talk that neatly summarizes the sky-high expectations the Cardinals faced last season. The previous campaign started with incredible promise before Carson Palmer injured his knee and the team stumbled to a first-round playoff ouster.

By the following spring, Palmer was healthy and the Cardinals became obsessed with finishing the job.

"I know time's running out," Palmer said during a drive to the Cardinals' facility. "There's no slowing that down. There's no going back in time. There's no magic pill."

Said team president Michael Bidwill during a private moment with Arians: "You're going to look back at this point in your life, and you either took advantage of your opportunity or you blew it."

The Cardinals didn't finish the job in 2015, of course, falling to the Panthers in the NFC Championship Game. It makes All Or Nothing a bittersweet watch (especially for Cardinals fans), while also serving as a reminder of how damn difficult it is to win the Super Bowl.

This is the story of the Cardinals' quest to win the b----.

Elsewhere ...

» Welcome to the first of eight All or Nothing episode recaps. This is the first time an embedded film crew spent an entire season with an NFL team. We outlined why the Cardinals were such a perfect choice for this type of exercise after we attended the Los Angeles premiere this month. One episode in, and that belief is reaffirmed. Great personalities, great players, great stories.

» The day-to-day coverage of the team actually starts at the 2015 NFL Draft. General manager Steve Keim, Arians and Bidwill are visibly crushed when electric Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah comes off the board to the Lions right before the Cardinals are set to pick. The braintrust re-groups and lands Northern Iowa running back David Johnson. Good move, guys.

» Rex Ryan had the "Let's go get a goddamn snack" speech on Hard Knocks. Arians deserves his place in mic'd up history for a rant on office parking etiquette: "My pet peeve is I came to work two days in a row and some mother------ was in my spot. One was a Jeep with Washington plates today. Yesterday was a Jeep with Texas plates, I think, in my spot. If there's a sign on a parking place anywhere in this facility, don't park in the b---- or I'll tow your ass." Obvious reaction: Who the hell has the balls to park in the coach's spot?

» Palmer was wired when he went down with his season-ending knee injury against the Rams in November 2014. The resulting footage is heartbreaking. "It's my left knee," he tells a trainer who has rushed to his side. "Oh jeez, don't let this be my ACL. Don't let this be my ACL."

Series narrator Jon Hamm: "After wandering for 40 years, Arians has found a home in the desert." Arians gives us a spot-by-spot synopsis that is both entertaining and enlightening. The road: Virginia Tech --> Mississippi State --> Alabama --> Temple (head coach, fired) --> Chiefs (fired) --> Saints (fired) --> Colts --> Browns (offensive coordinator, fired) --> Steelers (offensive coordinator, fired) --> Colts (offensive coordinator, interim coach) --> Cardinals.

» Pretty harrowing stuff from running back Chris Johnson, who takes off his shirt to reveal the gunshot wound behind his right shoulder he suffered in a drive-by shooting last year. The bullet is still in his body and left him with injuries that were more serious than was publicly revealed. Johnson said the bullet broke three different bones and left him with nerve damage that caused his hand to go "dead". "It was real tough coming back from that," Johnson said.

» The premiere ends with the Cardinals at 3-0 after wins over the Saints, Bears and 49ers. "We ain't sh-- yet," Arians tells his players, "but we're starting to smell a little better."

Stream the Amazon Original Series "All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals" on Amazon Prime Video now at amazon.com/allornothing.

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