The Old Guard 2.0
The passing of Mr.Rooney owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers is sad and NFL fans should salute his family's longevity and loyalty to the NFL and their contribution to its evolution. Of course, his son, the founder, Art Rooney's grandson, took over day to day operations a few years ago. It shows the gradual changing of the guard in a family owned franchise.
There are only a handful of pre-WWII era teams from those original franchises still in operation and the Cardinals are one of them. The sole original team that can claim continuous ownership is the Chicago Bears with us, the Steelers and Lions the others who can show a longtime league involvement.
The Cardinal franchise was bought from its original owner by Wm.Bidwill's father, Charles (Blue Shirt) Bidwill, minority owner of the Bears at the encouragement of George Halas, to maintain the Cardinals as a viable team and rival in Chicago. His sons, Bill and Stormy eventually took over the team with Bill buying out his brother. And now, Charles Bidwill's grandson, Michael, is the current operating owner. A whole slew of comparisons and similarities to the Steelers' organization and ownership history. Check it out...they are all over early NFL history and,also, today.
I freely admit, I don't know the history of team owners like you do.
However, my earliest memory of Pro football comes from football cards. Yes just like baseball cards. And this would be about the early sixties. Not sure how many NFL teams there was at that time, but I'm guessing almost half of what it is today.
And for whatever reason, my favorite card back then was Larry Wilson. His card showed him to be a kind of a small skinny guy, but I just liked the way he looked.
Anyhow, a few years later, I got into football. The Cards where only 90 miles away. Bill Bidwell was the owner. At first that didn't matter....later on, I didn't like him. He seemed to be more concerned about the business side than winning.
As I look back on it, perhaps I was too harsh. As you pointed out, he had a major influence on the NFL as a whole. Hate him or like him, he and his family has had a major impact as to what the NFL is today.
Just like the baseball Cardinals, the football Cardinals have long history. I think some don't appreciate that.
Last edited by thomas cat; 04-15-2017 at 10:08 PM.
By the way, I think this is the card I was talking about.