Arizona Cardinals team owner Bill Bidwill passed away on Wednesday at the age of 88
The man had solely owned the Arizona Cardinals since 1972, 16 years before moving his team to the desert. However the Cardinals have been in the Bidwill family since 1933 when Bill’s dad, Charles Bidwill owned the franchise.
On Wednesday he passed away peacefully according to a statement from the team. “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.
He touched many lives, mine included. However perhaps the one thing in the football world he’ll be best remembered by was his move to bring NFL football to the Valley of the Sun in 1988.
The Cardinals had long been considered for a franchise and had been working at it for sometime before the Cardinals came calling in January 1988. They hosted NFL preseason games at Sun Devil Stadium before the franchise moved their operations from St. Louis to Arizona.
Bidwill grew tired of trying to get a stadium separate of the baseball Cardinals in St. Louis and moved to Arizona on the notion he would soon get one here. It wasn’t very quick.
He was able to help land a Super Bowl in Arizona in 1996 before the Cardinals could land a stadium, which as we all know didn’t happen until 2006. Well, it happened before 2006 but it was a challenge.
The Cardinals got their stadium and were going to plant it at Loop 202 and Priest Dr on the Phoenix/Tempe border. However the FAA has other ideas. They said it was too close to the approach of the runway at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and was too high for safe clearance of aircraft.
So then they found land owned by Del Webb in the west valley and Cardinals Stadium, now State Farm Stadium, was born. It took 18 years in Arizona and countless before that in St. Louis but Bidwill finally got his stadium.