The Arizona Cardinals announced team owner Bill Bidwill died on Wednesday. He was 88 years old. Bidwill was the team's only owner since 1972, but he's been part of the franchise since his father bought the team in 1932.
“Our dad passed away today the same way he lived his life: peacefully, with grace, dignity and surrounded by family and loved ones,” Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “We are overwhelmed by the support our family has received, not only now but throughout the latest chapter of his life. We are especially grateful to the nurses, doctors and other caregivers whose endless kindness and compassion in recent years have made our dad’s life so meaningful. Above all else, we will remember him as a man devoted to the three central pillars of his life – his immense faith, his love for his family and his life-long passion for the Cardinals and the sport of football.”
When Bidwill became the owner of the Cardinals in 1972, the team was in St. Louis. He moved to the team to Arizona in 1988 and they were named the Phoenix Cardinals. Bidwill changed the name to the Arizona Cardinals in 1994.
"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," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "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."
The Cardinals has not had much success under Bidwill's tenure, but one of the things he will be remembered for is bringing multiple Super Bowls to the city as Arizona was the home of Super Bowl XXX, XLII and XLIX. The Cardinals did reach the Super Bowl in 2008 only to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was the team's first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
Bidwill's wife, Nancy, passed away in 2016. He is survived by five children - Bill Jr., Michael, Nicole, Patrick and Tim - and 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.