Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell, one of dozens of Canton enshrinees who attended Friday's Merlin Olsen Super Bowl Hall of Fame Luncheon, stopped when it was over to say hello to Michael Bidwill.
Campbell wanted to compliment Bidwill on Bidwill's grandmother, Violet, who had been honored during the event as the first female owner in the NFL when she took over the Cardinals in 1947.
On a day in which the annual event gave a chance to again present the new 2023 Hall of Fame class to the public -- this time with many of their new Canton peers -- there was an opportunity with the Super Bowl in Arizona where the Bidwill family's franchise now resides.
The highlight: After Bidwill talked about his grandmother -- who passed away before he was born -- a lithograph was unveiled of her and the family that clearly made Bidwill emotional.
"I hadn't seen it before and it just hit me right here," Bidwill said, pointing at his chest. "I hope she and my grandfather and my father are looking down, proud of the acknowledgement she was the first female owner and one of the first female owners in any sport in the world. She was such a pioneer."
When Violet and Charley Bidwill were newlyweds, Michael Bidwill said, they went on the Red Grange barnstorming tour, a 19-city, 19-game journey with the Chicago Bears. At one point, Charley Bidwill loaned money to George Halas so Halas wouldn't lose the Bears. Later, Charley Bidwill, at the insistence of his wife, bought the then-Chicago Cardinals.
When Charley Bidwill unexpectedly died in the spring of 1947, Violet Bidwill took over as owner of the Cardinals. The team won the NFL title that season.
"I'm telling her story every place I can talk about her," Michael Bidwill said. "She was an amazing woman and a trailblazer."