NFL reacts to passing of Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill

Arizona Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill, whose association with the team spanned eight decades, passed away Wednesday at the age of 88.

The NFL community offered its condolences to the Bidwill family.

Statement from Commissioner Roger Goodell:

"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."

Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue:

"Bill Bidwill always was motivated to do the right thing in his NFL work both on the club and League level. He and I spent a great deal of time together since he became sole owner of the Cardinals in 1972, shortly after I became outside NFL counsel. He worked extremely hard and was very pleased when Arizona was selected by the NFL to host the Super Bowl in 1996. Bill was such a terrific host that there have been two more Super Bowls played in the state since that time. One of the primary reasons the NFL has been so successful over the years is because we have had owners such as Bill Bidwill who understand how to balance the interests of individual franchises with the overall interest of the League. A key aspect of Bill's legacy is that his son Michael shares these values and is a proven league leader. My wife Chan and I extend our sincere condolences to the entire Bidwill family."

Chicago Bears chairman George H. McCaskey:

"One of our family's proudest associations in the NFL is with the Bidwill family. It goes back three generations, and at the heart of it is Bill Bidwill. His sacrifices on behalf of our great game are not properly documented, nor properly appreciated. He was a gracious man, a raconteur, and a great friend. Our deepest condolences to Michael, the extended Bidwill family, and the entire Cardinals organization."

New York Giants president and CEO John Mara:

"Bill Bidwill was one of the most important owners in the history of the National Football League. He was a kind and decent man who loved his team and the League. He leaves behind a wonderful family. Bill was someone I greatly admired and respected. I was proud to call him a friend."

Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford:

"Our hearts go out to the Arizona Cardinals as we mourn the passing of Bill Bidwill. The Lions and Cardinals have always shared a proud bond as two of the NFL's original franchises, and the Bidwill Family holds a treasured place in the history of professional football. His more than 80 years of life as part of the Cardinals organization will be remembered through a legacy marked by countless contributions to our great game.

On behalf of my family and the Detroit Lions, we extend our thoughts and deepest sympathies to his children -- Bill Jr., Michael, Nicole, Patrick and Tim -- and the entire Bidwill Family."

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones:

"I always viewed Bill as a man who, through his father and his literally growing up with the NFL, was an extension of the founding fathers of the NFL. His leadership and influence contributed greatly to bridging the gap between what the earliest years of our professional game looked like and the growth and massive popularity of what it has become. He had a unique perspective of where the game began and where he thought it needed to go. I enjoyed him as a competitor and a colleague, and regardless of the circumstance, he had a unique gift of humor that not everyone knew about. Without fail, he always made me laugh with his subtle wit, or a timely joke, before every game that our teams played against each other. Our thoughts and support are with his entire family. Bill will be missed greatly, and his imprint on the NFL will not be forgotten."

York Family of the San Francisco 49ers:

"Our family and the entire 49ers organization were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Bidwill. His love for the Cardinals and the NFL was evident through his many contributions to our game, most notably his commitment to championing diversity and inclusion both in our sport and our communities. Years ago, our family was touched by Mr. B's unbelievable kindness firsthand during an NFL Europe trip to Amsterdam. His warmth left a lasting impression that will not be forgotten. We send our love and support to the entire Bidwill family and the Cardinals organization."

Cincinnati Bengals President Mike Brown:

"Bill was an old friend. I am saddened to hear of his passing. He grew up in the NFL and was a solid part of the League for many years. Those of us who came to know him respected his leadership. He made hard decisions and was criticized heavily. He kept on and did not give in. Looking at those decisions now, for example, moving the Cardinals to Phoenix, it is clear how right he was. Bill was always full of stories and everyone enjoyed hearing them. I will miss him dearly."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Owner/Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer:

"Bill Bidwill's life mirrored the growth and success of the Cardinals and the entire National Football League. We have tremendous respect and admiration for the lineage of the Bidwill family ownership dating back to 1932. We send our condolences to his children Nicole, Bill Jr., Michael, Patrick, Timothy, the Arizona Cardinals and all of Bill's family and friends."

The Wilf Family of the Minnesota Vikings:

"Our condolences go out to the Bidwill family and the Arizona Cardinals organization. Bill and his family have been friends of our family and have offered support for us as owners since we joined the National Football League. His leadership of the Cardinals and the impact he made on the community will leave a lasting legacy of which to be proud."

Former Cardinals general manager Rod Graves:

"Mr. Bidwill was one of the greatest men I've known. He was more to me than just an employer. He was my friend and my teacher. I felt the support and encouragement that is rarely present in the workplace. He taught me how to be a better professional."

Cardinals Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner:

"It is a sad day for all of us in the Cardinals family hearing of the passing of Mr. B. I will remember fondly all the time I spent with him and the moments we shared together. Among my favorites were our conversation on the way to Tamp Bay for Super Bowl XLIII, the numerous interactions on the practice field and my most fond memories, the lunches we shared at the facility, in which I got to hear football and personal stories from a man that had a huge impact on the game and a community I love! To know Mr. B was to know a man that embodied kindness, humility and generosity. A man, although much of the time out of the spotlight, that had tremendous impact on the strides and successes of the NFL as a league. Though he never graduated from his bow tie, he was very forward thinking and ahead of his time in terms of making advances for all people in the game of football. I am extremely grateful to Mr. B for extending me an opportunity to rebuild my career and help build on the great tradition of the Arizona Cardinals. I will do my best to carry on his incredible legacy as a Cardinal and in the community. He will be greatly missed."

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