William V. "Bill" Bidwill, Sr. (born July 31, 1931) is the principal owner and chairman of the board of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. He was part-owner from 1962 to 1972 with his brother Charles, Jr. and has been sole owner since 1972.
Bidwill was born in in Chicago, Illinois. He went to Georgetown Preparatory School, then was in the United States Navy until 1956. He went to college at Georgetown University. After his graduation, he moved to St. Louis a few months before the Cardinals moved there.
His father, Charles Bidwill, owned the team from 1932, then known as the Chicago Cardinals, until his death in 1947. His mother, Violet, authorized business partner Ray Bennigsen to carry on management of the team. Violet Bidwill married St. Louis businessman Walter Wolfner in 1949. In 1960, Violet moved the Cardinals to St. Louis. Bill and Charles inherited the team after their mother's death in 1962, and served as co-owners until Bill purchased it outright in 1972. Among NFL franchises, only the Chicago Bears and New York Giants have been controlled by one family longer than the Cardinals.
As owner of the Cardinals
Bidwill's ownership has been marked by little success. In his 52 years as at least part-owner, the Cardinals have only made the playoffs five times. He moved the team to Phoenix, Arizona after the 1987 NFL season after St. Louis refused to build a new stadium to replace Busch Memorial Stadium in spite of the fact that the team was well supported by the local fans. Bidwill had also publicly pledged to support a future effort to gain an expansion franchise for St. Louis. Instead he voted to approve a new franchise in Jacksonville, Florida.
Bidwill had a reputation for running the Cardinals rather cheaply; the Cardinals had one of the lowest payrolls in the league for many years. In recent years, however, the Cardinals have begun to spend more since moving into the University of Phoenix Stadium in 2006. The increased revenue paid off in 2008, when the Cardinals won their division for the first time since 1975 (while they were still in St. Louis), hosted a playoff game for only the second time in franchise history (the last coming in 1947, while they were still in Chicago) and advanced to Super Bowl XLIII. They won another division title in 2009.
In recent years, Bidwill has ceded most day-to-day control over the Cardinals to his sons Michael and Bill, Jr., who serve as team president and vice president respectively. Bidwill also has two other sons, Patrick and Tim, and a daughter, Nicole. After the death of Ralph Wilson, Bidwill became the longest-tenured owner in the NFL.