The connection of Matson and Bidwill

Posted by Darren Urban on March 16, 2011 – 1:17 pm

Last month, Hall of Famer and former Cardinal Ollie Matson passed away and as Mike Sando noted this morning, Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill sent a letter to the family offering condolences and memories. It made sense — apparently Bidwill and Matson remained close over the years, even after the Cardinals traded Matson mid-career.

Matson’s niece, Clark Hochstein, lives in Phoenix (One of his grandsons attends Arizona State as well). Hochstein said, in talking to Matson’s sons, daughters and grandsons, Bidwill used to call the Matson house every Christmas to wish them a happy holiday.

As for the letter, “It was amazing how blown away everyone was to receive this letter,” Hochstein said. “It was so personal.”

In the letter, Bidwill recalled a long ago game against the Bears and how Matson — with the Cards behind 10-0 — returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and later stripped a ballcarrier and returned the fumble for the game-winning score. “People always ask me how certain players from the past would stack up in today’s game,” Bidwill wrote. “I say this with the greatest amount of respect for the current NFL players: Ollie Matson wouldn’t just stack up, he would be a superstar.”

Hochstein said by the time she arrived at the funeral services for Matson — attended by many retired players — she noticed that her family members had shown the letter to many of the former players. “It really meant a lot,” she said. “Everyone was kind of grumbling about how the situation is (regarding labor in the NFL), and to have the letter, it was  a way to stop grumbling about what was going on and think about how it once was between players and owners.”

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21 Responses to “The connection of Matson and Bidwill”

  1. By ross on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Great story.

  2. By MikeG on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Nice Story Darren—Bill Bidwell gets a bad reputation from fans around the country but he is a class guy. He does a lot for charity and certainly remembers his former players. He is old school and doesn’t need the camera’s and limelight to be happy– unlike others–the Jones guy in Dallas comes to mind. I actually have Matson’s rookie football card and some old footage of him playing on tape–and he was ahead of his time–certainly an underrated perfomer. Hey Darren on an aside –did you see the rules committee wants to change the kickoff rules in the NFL. They want kickoffs from the 35 yard line and if there is a touchback –they want to bring the ball out to the 25 yard line. I don’t like it– another rule that favors the offense and penalizes the special teams–The NFL is tinkering with the rules too much–I think they want every game 37-34??? Football is a team sport–Offense – Defense- Special Teams!!!
    One should not be overly more important than the other!!–Your Thoughts!!

  3. By Darren Urban on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Rules

    I expect to post something on this tomorrow (meetings all day today).

  4. By Gang6230 on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Cool piece of writtig wish it could be this way with all this back an forth stuff.

  5. By phoenixraven1 on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    …big props to the Bidwill’s for stepping up with the letter and calls. Everyone is always quick to jump on them but I do think they are good people.

  6. By Kent on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Nice little tibit Darren.

    Do you have nay info for when and with whom the Cards are holding private workouts? I know Von Miller is supposedly on the list and there was also mumblings that both Newton and Peterson were have private workouts.

  7. By Darren Urban on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Kent —

    RE: Private workouts

    I don’t know the dates, although I believe they all have to take place by early April.

  8. By SteveDCO on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Very nice to read this when today’s players are calling it slavery to work for $550k or much more a year.

    You have players coming out calling Goddell a liar. He has been a buisness man a long time, he knows better to lie in these sessions. The players are athletes first and many times had to lie their entire lives about getting paid before and during their ameture career.

    More and more I am getting tired of the players PR campaign. To come out and say that it’s not millionares and billionares. The long snapper is making $550k a year, he brings home $250k to $300k a year. If they aren’t millionares after their careers then same on them.

    Fans want football and we loved the game when Archie was making $1m a year and we love the game when Peyton is making $15m a year.

    We just want the players to stop crying how hard their lives are. We know they work hard and put their bodies on the line. So do the armed services, police and firefighters and they don’t get paid as well as an NFL player.

    The owners created the NFL and it will be great long after these players are gone with or without the insane contracts these players are getting.

    I wonder when football returns what Drew Brees’s recetion will be in his 1st road game, I’m betting on booos.

    Get the long snappers on every roster to negotiate the deal and it will be done tommorow.

  9. By brad oneill on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    they met with von miller on tuesday according to the nfl channel. the more i learn about that kid the more i like him. although the same is true of Peterson. If those two are still on the board at number 5 we will have a very good problem to have. picking the best athlete in the draft or picking the guy who will impact our teams prospects immediately.

    is anyone else getting the feeling that despite all the hype cam newton may not even get picked in the first round?

  10. By Andrew Malicki on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    A very nice piece of writing on a classy guy. Having watched almost all the great Cardinal ballcarriers in their history from Tonelli,Goldberg,Trippi,Angsman,Harder and Matson and all the way thru to today, Ollie stands out as the best of the Triple Threats. Remember,he was a true pioneer in a variety of ways. He was someone for Black America after the war to look up to and encourage to succeed. At USF he was a first-rate basketball player,a teammate of legendary Bill Russell. He was a champion track star who medalled in the Olympics. As a NFL first round draft choice of the Cardinals he was a league record-setter and still holds some Cardinal records. But,above all he was a crowd pleaser and Chicago fans loved him,especially when he mesmerized George Halas and the Bears.
    Chicago profootball fans have been blessed with a number of HOF backs,Paddy Driscoll,Red Grange,Bronco Nagurski,Charlie Trippi,Gale Sayers,Walter Payton and Ollie Matson. That’s pretty heady company to be among legendary NFL stars.

  11. By Kent on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    @Brad O’Neill

    I happen to think the best athlete and the guy who will have the most impact on this team is the same guy, Von Miller.

    Peterson is an elite prospect, but the impact he is going to have in a discipline based zone heavy scheme is limited. The imacpt a guy like Von Miller could have in an aggressive zone blitzing 34 style defense is DPOY level. However that is projecting him to tap into most if not all of his upside.

  12. By Kurt on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Great Story
    No more trash talking Bill – True class

  13. By Peter in Canada on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    This is a fine article. Most of the posters appear to be anti-Bidwill and it is nice to read something positive about them. Without a doubt Matson was the finest RB ever to play for the Cardinals and it is great that he is remembered.

  14. By AndyStandsUp on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Brad, read Sando. He states 2 of the 3 authors of the mock drafts he’s quoting has Newton going to AZ with the fifth.
    Personally, I don’t see it because:
    A.) Cards have 4 QBs under contract and already knowing the system as opposed to a rookie in a short term lockout situation should be a leg up.
    B.) Whiz is stubborn. He will NOT admit failure with Skelton and Hall.
    C.) Cam is a distant relative of Sir Issac Newton and will find out soon enough that the rotten apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Or something like that.

  15. By Chuck 1 on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    You write a lot of good articles, Darren, but this one has to be in the top 10.
    SteveDCO, you’re spot on with regard to (wrt) the exorbitant salaries that players make, whether it’s the NFL, NBA or MLB.
    Cry me a river.
    WRT Brees, I doubt that fans will boo him. There are too many of them who sympathize with the players. He might be cheered.

  16. By georgiebird on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    In this time of labor unrest, this story shows a side of life bigger than football.
    Poor Ollie Matson and others of his era were very underpaid but as the pendulum has swung, today’s players are spoiled , overpaid and unsavory in so many ways.
    I never saw a owner who renegotiated a contract when the player underperformed but some players feel they have a right to renegotiate when they play well.
    So glad Boldin dropped that pass.

  17. By Mike Ellingboe on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply


    I’d be surprised if Newton isn’t off the board by the end of round one. In spite of the red flags with him, the major ones for me being the similarities between him, Tebow and Vince Young, there are just too many teams needing to find their next QB and to his credit he does share some traits with Roethlisberger and Vick as well – clarifying that I mean what he does on the field.

  18. By R Robles on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Oh man just hearing Von Miller might be a Cardinal sounds awesome I truly hope so. I know whoever we get is gonna make his presents felt right from the start Miller Peterson are on my wish list

  19. By Sackman on Mar 17, 2011 | Reply

    Great Story! I always liked the Bidwills! Just not the way the hold back on their pocketbooks.

    Darren which one is running the show? Is it the dad or the son now? I watched the son the other day, and he seems to be sincere in making the team better, perhaps by spending more money I hope! But overall I like his attitude and the direction he wants to bring the Cardinals in!

  20. By Darren Urban on Mar 17, 2011 | Reply

    Sackman —

    RE: Running the team

    Michael Bidwill, the team president, runs the day-to-day operations.

  21. By drummer-1 on Mar 17, 2011 | Reply

    Why do everyone thinks by paying high price for player thats going to make the team better ask Washington, Dallas, Oakland etc.. how’d that work out.. they want them to spend money but when you mention getting Carson Palmers( who i don’t want) they say the price is to much.. Some people will never be happy.

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