Bill Bidwell was (is) a notoriously bad owner in the NFL. Stories of forced frugality and sabotaged-winning echo over decades of losing. He is by all accounts the Scrooge of the NFL. Bill, and his father’s, penny-pinching ways have led the Cardinals from being kicked out of two major cities and decades of losing (keep in mind, the Cardinals are also only 7 years away from being 100 years old in the NFL, with little to show). In the Bidwell’s past, they’ve won two championships. However, one championship garnered so much controversy it is said to have placed a “curse” on the team. The Ghost of Bidwell’s Past is long story of missed opportunity and a lack of desire to do right by the community that supported them.
The flip in our story is, the Ghost of Bidwell’s Present isn’t nearly the same dark cloud of Bidwell’s Past. Since 2006, Michael Bidwell has taken over as the rightful heir to the Bidwell football empire. He negotiated the acceptance and development of a world-class stadium (I do love that stadium). He brought in big name coaches—Green and Whizenhunt. He spent money on expiring contracts and locked up amazing players to extend their stay in the bird nest. Michael has taken chances on free agents to bolster the team (with varied results) and sought after quality draft picks. His rewards are the 2008 SB run and the 2009 playoffs. From there, he starts down the familiar well-paved Bidwell road. Since 2006, he has two winning seasons and four (soon to be five) losing seasons. To clarify, an owner should, at least, make the playoff’s to be considered a winner. His decision making in 2010 reeked of Bidwell’s past. The league, threatening to shut down due to contract negotiations in 2011 and Michael clutched on to his money just as his elders taught him. Cardinal fans could’ve been rewarded with Mark Bulger to fill the gap for the departing Warner; instead, Bidwell’s automatic sphincter contraction landed us Derrick Anderson—starting the longest, most ridiculous QB carousel the league has seen in recent history. By doing this, the team has been prevented from knowing, or developing, other parts of their struggling offense; namely the offensive line.
Now, the Ghost of Bidwell's Yet-to-Come looms and Michael is going to get his first real chance to separate himself from his elders. With multiple seasons of long losing streaks and a team wrought with injury and countless bad decisions, can Michael find the malignant cancer (coaching, player, or even himself?) in time? And, more importantly, does Michael have the cojones and ability to surgically remove it to save what’s left of the 2008 gold-rush fan base.
If he can, just like in Dickens’ novel, the future in Arizona will brighten and the fan base will blossom. If not, the long silent finger of Bidwell's Yet-to-Come points to another grave for another teetering Cardinal fan base.