TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — William V. Bidwill, who owned the NFL’s Cardinals franchise in three cities, has died. He was 88.
The team announced that Bidwill passed away Wednesday. A cause of death wasn’t immediately given.
Reviled by fans at times for what they perceived to be his penny-pinching ways, privately Bidwill was an extremely charitable man, distributing money to many local causes, usually done quietly with no publicity. Charitable contributions also were made through the Cardinals Foundation, formed shortly after the franchise moved from St. Louis to Arizona in 1988. It previously had been located in Chicago.
Bidwill ignored critics as the team went a half-century without a playoff victory before making it as a wild card team in 1998 and upsetting the Cowboys in Dallas.
The bowtie-wearing Bidwill headed a family operation that dated to 1932, when his father Charles purchased the Chicago Cardinals, reportedly for $50,000. Young Bidwill was a ballboy for the 1947 team that won the franchise’s lone NFL championship.