This episode we fire up the DeLorean and head back to April 15, 1904, the birthdate of Frances Upton. Frances is the mother of this week's guest, Upton Bell. The Football History Dude podcast happened to release on April 15, 2018, so there's a premonition going on here. You will find out in the episode how Frances Upton and the podcast are linked in the upcoming 100th season of the NFL. The story is told through the experiences of Upton Bell.
Upton is the son of the First Great Commissioner of the NFL - Bert Bell. He joins us to share stories from his book: Present at the Creation - My Life in the NFL and the Rise of America's Game. Upton's book walks you through a journey in the history of the NFL unlike anyone else can.
He had a first-hand glimpse of the beginning of the NFL when he was the son of Bert Bell, the first Great Commissioner. Upton was at a crossroads when his father passed away and ended up working for the Baltimore Colts and the Great Don Shula. He was the youngest GM in the NFL at the time when he took over for the then, Boston Patriots. He later owned the Charlotte Hornets, a World Football League organization. And as if that wasn’t enough of a diverse background, he worked his way into the media as a sportscaster.
Oh, by the way, he interviewed some of the greatest people in the nation at the time. Some include George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, and Stephen Hawking. This is the 10,000 foot Eagle Eye View of Upton’s life, and there’s no way I could do it justice, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. So without further ado, I present to you, Upton Bell. So, strap on your seat belt, and let’s get ready to take this baby up to 88mph.
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. There was never a dull moment, and I highly suggest you pick it up. The interview is a 3-part series, but it would take triple that to cover everything in this book (maybe more). It's mostly a chronology of Upton's life. The book starts at the beginning, giving you an inside look into why Bert Bell was considered the First Great Commissioner. Then it walks you through his days with the Baltimore Colts, on to the craziness of the disorganized "Boston" Patriots, up to his time as an owner in the WFL, and then as a broadcaster. Of course, there's plenty more in between.
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