GLENDALE, AZ — The Arizona Cardinals announced Wednesday that team owner Bill Bidwill has died at the age of 88.
I first met Bill Bidwill when I started as the team’s P.A. Voice at Sun Devil Stadium back in the late 90’s. He wasn’t the most outgoing guy, but there was something about him that was kind of endearing.
On a handful of occasions, (when I was doing radio for the team) I got the chance to sit by him on the team bus as we would head to a game, and he would often reminisce about a football trip, a player, or a specific game. He clearly had a ton of memories and he always shared his passion for the game and his team.
I recall seeing him at the team training facility in Tempe, visiting with Pat Tillman in the hallways, sharing stories of the war or former Cardinals greats. He and Pat seemed to have a connection that allowed them to talk about random stories and topics.
I remember seeing him during one practice, concerned about the electricity bill and air conditioning, closing a door to the team locker room, and he joked with me about cooling down the outside air.
He was a man who contributed a great deal to Valley charities, but he did so without fanfare and without a camera following his every move. It was evident in all that he did, that he truly cared about his community and especially the Catholic Church.
He was instrumental in getting the NFL to recognize Arizona as a viable Super Bowl host and he was proud as can be when the team signed Emmitt Smith.
Although the Cardinals have gone through more lean times and downright bad seasons than most NFL franchises, Mr. “B” seemed to always maintain hope that next year was going to be “their year.”
I still remember him hoisting the NFC Championship trophy in Glendale when his Cardinals were headed to the Super Bowl. It truly was a special time for the die hard, long-suffering Cardinals fans!
R.I.P., Mr. B.