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NFL mourns loss of Arizona Cardinals owner Bill V. Bidwill


“Bill Bidwill was part of the NFL family his entire life, starting from his days as a ball boy through his time as an owner. Although never one to seek the spotlight, Bill had an incredible sense of humor and he made extraordinary contributions to the NFL. Bill’s vision brought the Cardinals, the NFL and multiple Super Bowls to Arizona. He was a leader in embracing diversity and employed the first African American female executive, and the first African American general manager and head coach tandem. We extend our condolences to Bill’s family and the Cardinals organization, which along with his faith, meant so much to him.”


Bill V. Bidwill

William V. Bidwill’s association with the Cardinals began as a child ball boy on Chicago’s South Side.

A native of Chicago, Bill Bidwill presides over the oldest continuously-operated professional football franchise. Founded in 1898, the Cardinals join the Chicago Bears as the only two remaining charter members of the National Football League (1920). As his involvement with the team continues through its eighth different decade.

The Cardinals have remained in the Bidwill family since Bill’s father, Charles, a prominent Chicago sports figure and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, purchased the team in 1932. Charles ran the club until his death in the Cardinals’ NFL championship year of 1947. Charles’ wife, Violet, then guided the franchise’s fortunes for the next 15 years, followed jointly by sons Bill and Charles, Jr. (Stormy). Bill became sole owner in 1972.

Named a Cardinals vice president during his undergraduate days at Georgetown University, Bill Bidwill returned to Chicago from the Navy in 1956 to begin assisting family interests that included football. When the Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960, Bidwill returned to the organization on a full-time basis.

Recent seasons have seen the Cardinals reach unprecedented heights. Between 2013-17, Arizona won more games (50) than in any other five-year stretch in team history. In 2015, the Cardinals captured their third NFC West crown after posting a franchise-record 13 wins during the regular season. The Cardinals also earned the first postseason bye in team history in 2015. The Cardinals have gone .500 or better in eight of the last 12 seasons – including four 10-win campaigns during that span – and has sold out all 134 games played at State Farm Stadium since it opened in 2006.

Bidwill continues to have a presence at the Cardinals training facility and is a popular fixture at team events, charity functions and football activities. An active supporter of various civic and charitable organizations and endeavors, Bidwill directed the formation of Cardinals Charities, the team’s organization dedicated to supporting worthy Arizona causes, shortly after the Cardinals arrived in the state.

While he is well-known for his understated nature and a preference for staying out of the spotlight, Bidwill has been unable to avoid accolades in recent years for his contributions and accomplishments as Cardinals owner.

Most recently, in November of 2017 Bidwill was inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame as part of its 2017 class. The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame honors athletes, coaches, administrators and others who have made significant contributions to Arizona sports.

At the 2010 annual NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Bidwill was honored with the Paul “Tank” Younger Award from the Fritz Pollard Alliance, whose purpose is to promote diversity and equality of job opportunity in the NFL. The Paul “Tank” Younger Award has been presented annually since 2003 for extraordinary contributions towards NFL diversity and previous winners include Tony Dungy, Dan Rooney and Bill Walsh. “When you look back over the years, Mr. Bidwill has a long history of hiring minorities to administrative and authoritative positions,” said FPA chairman John Wooten. “He has really helped level the playing field and that is what this award is all about.”

Also in February of 2010, Bidwill was inducted into the Sports Faith Hall of Fame in Lake Forest, IL. “(He) was honored as a long-time contributor to the NFL and for his contributions to charity, which he has conducted in a very quiet, very generous manner,” said Patrick McCaskey, chairman of the group’s advisory board and grandson of Chicago Bears legendary head coach George Halas. Bidwill joined Brian Piccolo, the former Bears running back, Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers, and John Gagliardi, head coach at St. John’s (MN) University and college football’s all-time wins leader.

At its December 2010 commencement exercises at Northern Arizona University, Bidwill was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree for “his contributions to the university, his community and his profession.”

In May of 2017, Bidwill was selected for induction to the Georgetown Prep Athletic Hall of Fame. A 1949 graduate of the school, Bidwill was a two-sport athlete for the Little Hoyas football and baseball teams.

Bidwill was credited with bringing Super Bowl XXX to Arizona in January of 1996. The region hosted the game again in February of 2008 when Super Bowl XLVII was played at State Farm Stadium. It hosted its third title game in February of 2015 when Super Bowl XLIX was played and resulted in a record economic impact of $720 million.

Bidwill’s wife of nearly 56 years, Nancy, passed away in August of 2016. The couple were married in September of 1960 and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2010. Bidwill has five children and 10 grandchildren.



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