Upton Bell is possibly a name you never heard of. However, when you listen to the 3 parts of the interview I had with him, you will realize he was literally Present at the Creation of the NFL (as we know it today), which is the title of his book. He is the son of Bert Bell, the First Great Commissioner of the NFL, but some things turned sideways there that led him to change the course of his career.
We discussed in the Bert Bell episode how he had an untimely death in 1959. At this time, Upton had a decision to make. We find him working his way into administrative positions with the Baltimore Colts and the “Boston” Patriots, later to be named the New England Patriots, by none other than Upton Bell. He owned the Charlotte Hornets in the World Football League and then hung up his professional football hat to be a broadcaster.
Much later in life, Upton had a near-death experience when he crashed his vehicle in a pretty bad wreck. He wrote a story for the Boston Magazine explaining his journey back titled Memoir – Upton Bell’s Road Back. I suggest you take a look at it. There are many life lessons and analogies that can help you through anything you’re going through.
You can find him on Twitter at @uptonbell
Upton Bell Interview Episodes
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This book is basically a chronological overview of Upton's life in the game of professional football. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, and I believe it's "MUST READ" information. You can get a good grasp of the stories from the book in the interviews, but you don't hear the whole thing. It's near impossible to cover everything in the book on an episode (or even 20) of The Football History Dude podcast. I highly suggest you check this out, and please let Upton and myself know what you thought about the book / interviews.
How I Met Upton
Upton reached out to me after someone shared this Bert Bell posting over at Flurry Sports. He called the phone number found on my Contact Page and left a voicemail letting me know he was thankful I covered an episode on his father. I can remember the conversation I had with Upton like it happened yesterday. I called him on my way to the gym, and he answered the phone with just telling me how many times he’s been to Michigan for football games. At first, it caught me off guard, but then I was able to start a conversation that would ultimately change the direction of my podcast.
I was so interested and excited that I pulled over into this hotel parking lot right next to the local Subway. Upton proceeded to tell me so many stories about his life, told me he thinks podcasts are the way of the future, and then we ended it by him telling me to send him my address to get his book my way. Flash forward, the book shows up to a different post office box, because the last few digits are barely off. I waited forever for that book. Finally, I got it, and I couldn’t put it down. Then the real fun was about to happen. I had the killer interview with Upton, and it was even better than I could have imagined. Again, a HUGE thank you to Upton for helping me out.