The honor meant a lot to Michael Bidwill – Thursday night’s induction into the National Football Foundation’s Leadership Hall of Fame – but for the Cardinals president, its meaning went far beyond himself or his team.
“I’m the person getting the award but it is really a lot of people over the years that worked with me to help get the stadium done, who worked on (Arizona’s) economic development, who helped get the team turned around to where we are today,” Bidwill said. “There are countless, countless people both inside our organization and outside the organization.”
Bidwill and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey became the seventh and eighth inductees to the NFF’s Leadership Hall of Fame at the ceremony held at the Arizona Biltmore, part of the many events leading to Monday night’s College Football Playoff
That game, and college basketball’s Final Four that will be held at University of Phoenix Stadium in a year, are among the reasons Bidwill and Ducey were honored.
“Governor Ducey and Michael Bidwill share many similar traits, and they have developed a close relationship with the singular goal of making Arizona a better place,” NFF Chairman Archie Manning said. “They have formed a powerful public-private partnership, and we are proud to recognize them for their joint leadership and their efforts to unify their state and promote its reputation as a prime place to conduct business with an unmatched quality of life.”
Among those in attendance at the ceremony were Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians, as well as Cardinals Hall of Famers Larry Wilson and Aeneas Williams.
It’s a good time for Bidwill, who has helped usher in multiple national events – like last year’s Super Bowl between the Patriots and Seahawks – but also oversees a franchise that captured a team-record 13 wins this season and has a legitimate shot to reach a Super Bowl itself.
But the development of Arizona’s overall economic health has also been a big part of his life, and Bidwill likes what games like the Clemson-Alabama matchup will do on a national stage Monday.
“I think it’s great we get another great event that is having a huge economic impact,” Bidwill said. “It shows off the stadium … and it’s great for the local businesses. It puts us on national TV and really international TV. This is fantastic for Arizona, and for us to be a part of this is fantastic.”