Phi Delta Theta Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
After practicing law for six years as a federal prosecutor, Michael Bidwill joined the Cardinals organization in 1996 as Vice President/General Counsel and today serves as team President. In that time, his influence over the club has been undeniable.
Since taking over as team President in 2007, the Cardinals have gone .500 or better in five of seven seasons (just twice in previous 20 years) and posted two double-digit win seasons (none in previous 20).
The 2013 offseason was a busy but successful one for Bidwill, who spearheaded the searches that resulted in the hirings of General Manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians. Keim would earn NFL Executive of the Year while Arians merited Coach of the Year consideration after Arizona doubled its win total and matched the greatest one-year turnaround in team history in a 16-game season. Prior to the start of the season, the team also staged its first training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium which proved to be extremely popular and successful.
In addition to his prominent role with the Cardinals, Bidwill has established himself as an influential leader in the greater Phoenix business community where he has been a strong advocate for economic growth and development.
From 2008-10, Bidwill served back-to-back terms as Chairman of Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). He is also a board member of Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL), an organization composed of the region’s top business and civic leaders. In July of 2011, Bidwill and 16 business leaders in the state were appointed to the Arizona Commerce Authority Board of Directors.
This past June, Bidwill received the 2014 Transformational Leader Award from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry. In November of 2013, he received the “West Valley Regional Advancement Award” from Western Maricopa Coalition, which cited continued positive impact in that community. Bidwill was selected by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of its 25 “Most Admired CEO’s” in 2010. The previous year, he also received the Leader for Tomorrow award from the Boy Scouts of America.
Within the National Football League, Michael chairs the Security and Fan Conduct Committee, a group of eight club executives that oversees and develops best security practices for NFL facilities. He has also been a member of the league’s Business Ventures Committee since 2007 when Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed him to it.
In December of 2012, Michael was appointed by Goodell to the board of the National Football League Foundation. With a focus on improving the health and safety of sports and youth football, the foundation has provided $35 million in funding to build nearly 400 youth fields in NFL team areas. So far in 2014, the NFL Foundation has announced a $45 million grant for youth football programs, a $1 million grant for youth and high school football equipment, and another $25 million in grants towards health and safety initiatives over the next three years. The foundation also partnered with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee to distribute $2 million to nonprofits in Arizona in the run-up to Super Bowl XLIX.
In May of 2013, Bidwill was one of a select group of league executives who participated in the NFL Career Development Symposium at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. The three-day program for aspiring head coaches and GM candidates allowed them to prepare for future opportunities and engage with key league decision-makers.
Among his most significant accomplishments with the Cardinals was leading the effort that resulted in the creation of University of Phoenix Stadium. The venue has been a major factor in the transformation of the Cardinals and a catalyst for the franchise’s success. The team has sold out every game it has played since the iconic stadium’s opening and in 2013 eclipsed the five million fan mark for Cardinals games.
Without the stadium, Arizona would also have never hosted another Super Bowl. Instead, University of Phoenix Stadium successfully hosted Super Bowl XLII in 2008 and will again with Super Bowl XLIX this year. Thanks to Bidwill’s efforts, Arizona will also host the Pro Bowl this January a week before the Super Bowl, pushing the economic impact of the two games well past half a billion dollars. It will be a busy time for Arizona’s Super Bowl Host Committee, on which Michael also serves.
Strong community involvement has been a hallmark of Bidwill’s tenure with the Cardinals, with a particular emphasis on the value of youth sports. In 2011, Bidwill led the team’s support of state legislation implementing stronger concussion guidelines and increasing awareness among Arizona high school athletes. Past recognition includes the team’s selection as the NFC recipient of the “Pop Warner NFL Team of the Year (2005)” for commitment to the development of youth football. Two years earlier, that same organization presented Michael with the Glenn S. “Pop” Warner Award, for excellence in athletics, scholarship, and life’s endeavors with integrity and humanity.
From 1990–96, Bidwill was an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the Department of Justice in Phoenix where he specialized in homicide and other violent crime cases.
Bidwill earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from St. Louis University in 1987 and in 1990 earned a law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. A licensed pilot and flying enthusiast, Bidwill also donates his time and resources as a volunteer for “Flying Samaritans,” a group of volunteers including doctors and other medical personnel who offer free medical clinics in Mexico. He is also a member of the Air Force Chief of Staff Civic Leader Program whose membership, according to the Air Force, “comprises respected community leaders (who) provide ideas and feedback to advise the secretary of the Air Force, the Air Force chief of staff and Air Force senior leaders about how missions can best be accomplished in their respective areas.” Michael additionally is a member of the board for the Pat Tillman Foundation, which carries on the legacy of the former Cardinals safety killed in Afghanistan in 2004.