De Benneville "Bert" Bell (February 25, 1895 – October 11, 1959) was the National Football League commissioner from 1946 until his death. He was an assistant football coach at the University of Pennsylvania (1920–1929), and at Temple University (1930–1932). He was the co-founder and part owner (1933–1936), sole owner (1936–1940), and also head coach (1936–1940) of the Philadelphia Eagles. While owner of the Eagles, Bell proposed the creation of the NFL draft in 1935 which led to its implementation in 1936. He was part-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers (1940–1946) and head coach for two games (1941). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
As the NFL Commissioner, his role was to act as the principal spokesman for the NFL, enhance the league's popularity, maintain a core set of franchise owners that were financially sound and dedicated to the success of the NFL and its rules. He was an employee of the owners, but he had to resolve disputes between the owners and the players, and also disputes between the different owners. He evolved his position from one of mediating disputes between owners to one of persuading owners to put short-sighted self-interests aside and act cohesively to improve the NFL's standing. In times of an impasse between the owners, he acted unilaterally and decisively for the betterment of the NFL. His efforts in mediation, negotiation, persuasion and leadership assisted in football's rise to becoming the most popular professional sport in America.
Specifically, his accomplishments as commissioner included presiding over the NFL becoming the first coast-to-coast sports industry and presiding over the end of racial segregation in the NFL, enacting an anti-gambling resolution into the NFL constitution, merging the NFL with the AAFC, and developing league wide team schedules which increased the competitive balance in the league. Also, from television's very beginnings, he set television policy for the NFL. He negotiated the first league-wide television contract which included a TV revenue sharing plan for NFL franchises. He enacted rule changes to enhance the appeal of the game for television viewers, paying spectators, and corporate television sponsorship, which eventually enabled football to become the first dominant sports attraction on television. He unilaterally recognized the NFLPA.
Bell was born de Benneville Bell, (his first name was alternatively spelled as deBenneville, De Benneville, and DeBenneville,) on February 25, 1895 in Philadelphia to John C. Bell and Fleurette de Benneville Myers. John C., an attorney in Philadelphia, was the city's District Attorney, (1903–1907) the Pennsylvania Attorney General (1911–1915) an author, and public speaker. Bert's older brother, John C. Jr., was born in 1892. Bert's parents were very wealthy, and his mother's lineage in the United States predated the American Revolutionary War.
Bell's father (University of Pennsylvania, C' 1884) was an end during his college days and he brought Bert to his first football game at Penn, located a mile from their home, when he was six years old. Soon thereafter, Bert regularly engaged in football games with neighborhood friends. In 1904 Bert attended the Episcopal Academy. About this time, his father became director of athletics at Penn. Bell attended the Delancey School, from 1909 to 1911. For high school, Bell enrolled in The Haverford School in 1911. He was one of the best athletes in the school, and in his senior year he served as captain of the school's football, basketball, and baseball teams, and "was awarded The Yale Cup, given to 'The pupil who has done the most to promote athletics in the school.'" Although he excelled at baseball, his true passion was football. Around this time, his father was named a trustee at Penn and helped form the NCAA. Once commenting on Bert's plans for college, his father said, "Bert will go to Penn or he will go to hell."
University of PennsylvaniaEdit
Bell entered Penn in the fall of 1914, as an English major, and became a member of Phi Kappa Sigma. He became the starting quarterback on the freshman Penn Quakers. His play landed him on the varsity for coach George H. Brooke as the starting quarterback in 1915, an unusual occurrence for a sophomore. He also played as a defender, punter, and punt returner. He started the first two games and Penn won them both. With Penn's record at 3–0, Bell shared quarterbacking duties from the fourth thru the seventh games and had mixed success. As a punt returner, his lack of speed caused him to fumble occasionally because he could not get set properly before catching the ball. After Brooke abruptly quit before the eight game, Bell regained the starting quarterback position. Penn finished with a record of 3–5–2 in his first year on varsity.
Fleurette passed away on September 24, 1916, while Bell was en route from campus to her bedside. Nevertheless, he started the first game of the 1916 season on September 30 for new coach Bob Folwell. But again mixed results by Bell caused him to be platooned for the rest of the season. The team finished the regular season with a record of 7–2–1, 10th seed in the east. After Harvard, and then Yale, turned down an invitation to the 1917 Rose Bowl, Penn was offered an invitation and accepted it. The Quakers were installed as, depending on sources, heavy favorites, or 5–3 favorites over the Oregon Ducks. The Rose Bowl sold out and more than 25,000 attended the game. Penn's total offensive yards for the game was 230 vs 242 from Oregon, but the largest gain from scrimmage by Penn was a gain of 20 yards by Bell. Bell was replaced at quarterback after throwing an interception, from the Quaker's fifteen yard line, in the fourth quarter that led to the final score, Oregon 14, Penn 0, three plays later. At the time, this game was considered to be the greatest football game ever played on the west coast.
In the 1917 season, Bell led Penn to a 9–2–0 finish. On December 1, 1917, Bell was inducted into a Mobile Hospital Unit of the United States Army for World War I. Later that day, his teammates unanimously selected him to be team captain for the 1918 season. However, after a few months of training, he was deployed to France and arrived in May 1918. Bell and some members of his unit volunteered for dangerous assignments. As a result of one occasion, his unit received a congratulatory letter for bravery from General John J. Pershing. He was promoted to top sergeant in France and returned home in March 1919 with a discharge soon to be. He returned to Penn as captain of the football team for the 1919 season and again played erratically. The Quakers team finished in 1919 with a 6–2–1 record. His collegiate playing days were over and he was viewed as having been, depending on sources, an above-average player to a borderline All-American quarterback. Bell's play on the field had created supporters among the Quakers' fans. But, he also had his critics. The animosity directed at Bell was either due to a long-standing feud among Quaker footballers and fans over their inability to get his father removed from his position as athletic director,Template:Citation needed, Bert's play, or some other intangible reasons. Off the field, Bell's aversion to attending academic classes caught up with him, and in February 1920 he left Penn without a degree.
Bell became a backfield coach for Penn's coach John Heisman from 1920 to 1922. Under Heisman, he became well regarded as an assistant coach. When Louis Young became coach in 1923, Bell stayed on as an offensive backfield coach. After Penn's declaration as collegiate champions in 1924, Bell and fellow assistant coach Lud Wray received some unnamed offers for head coaching positions, but both of them declined all offers. As an offensive coach, Bell made early contributions to the development of spinner plays which Pop Warner made famous years later. In 1928, Bell and Wray had a dispute regarding Quaker football strategy. Bell felt Young and Wray overemphasized scrimmages in practices during the season as opposed to a strength and conditioning regimen during in-season practices. Consequently in November, Bell tendered his resignation to Penn, which was not accepted. Bell declared he had no desire to seek a head coaching position because he felt it was too time-consuming. Bell preferred to stay on at Penn, but his resignation was accepted prior to the start of the 1929 season. Late in Bell's career at Penn, his father set Bert up with, at least one, job as a manager of the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Around 1929, Bell become a stock broker and managed to lose approximately $50,000 during the Wall Street Crash of 1929. His father bailed him of his losses and Bell continued to work, or returned to working at the Ritz for an unspecified length.
In December 1929, Bell announced he would become an assistant coach for Temple University for the next season. He was a backfield coach at Temple under head coach, former Penn teammate, Heinie Miller for the 1930 thru the 1932 season. When Pop Warner was hired to coach Temple for the 1933 season, he chose to hire his own assistants and Bell was let go. During his coaching tenure at Penn and Temple, Bell spent most of his off time out drinking, socializing, and gambling. One of his favorite places was the Saratoga Race Course. He visited Saratoga every August as late as 1926, and there he counted among his friends and companions the Vanderbilts, the Whitneys, Tim Mara, Art Rooney, and George Preston Marshall, among others.
Marshall met Bell in Atlantic City in 1932 and tried to coax him into buying the rights for a new NFL franchise, but Bell promptly disparaged the NFL and ridiculed the suggestion. Circa February 1933, Bell's opinion on the NFL had changed and he wanted to become an owner. At the time, college football, played on Saturday, was vastly more popular than the NFL, so Bell was told a prerequisite to a franchise being granted to him was the Pennsylvania Blue Laws would have to be changed to permit NFL games to be played on Sunday. By the time the NFL league meetings were held in February 1933, Bell had convinced Rooney to apply for a franchise membership in the NFL. Bell then played the primary role in convincing Governor Gifford Pinchot to issue a bill before the Pennsylvanian legislature to deprecate the Blue Laws. The legislature passed the bill in April 1933, and not long after, the Governor signed it into law; the law directed local communities to hold referendums to determine the status and extent of Blue Laws in their respective jurisdictions. Bell then needed money to purchase entry into the NFL but his father would not lend him any because he disapproved of football as a career. So Bell borrowed money from Frances Upton, his future wife, which he used to partner with Wray, among others, and buy the Frankford Yellow Jackets, a bankrupt NFL franchise. Bell named the franchise the Philadelphia Eagles, the partners paid the league entrance fee of $2,500 and agreed to guarantee the outstanding debt of the Yellow Jackets. The Eagles, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Cincinnati Reds entered the NFL for the start of the 1933 NFL season. At the time they entered the NFL, there was a total of 10 teams that were split up into an Eastern and a Western division.
Wray became head coach of the Eagles, and Bell became its president. Bert negotiated a deal to have the team play their home games at the Baker Bowl, an 18,500-seat stadium for a percentage of the gate. On November 7, 1933 the referendum on the Blue Laws passed in Philadelphia and it became law. After the Eagles inaugural 3–5–1 season, a de facto segregation occurred in the NFL and African Americans would not return to the NFL until the 1946 NFL season as for the previously two remaining African Americans, Ray Kemp was released, and Joe Lillard, a disruptive influence on, and off, the field, was let go by the Cardinals to prevent racially based fights from occurring. Before the 1934 NFL season, the financially struggling Portsmouth Spartans were sold to George Arthur Richards, moved to Detroit, and renamed the Detroit Lions. Also, Bell's proposal to have the winner of the annual NFL championship game be awarded the Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy was accepted at the NFL owners meeting. The Reds went bankrupt amid the 1934 season and their position was taken over until the end of season by the St. Louis Gunners. The Eagles finished the 1934 season at 4–7.
The lack of the team's competitiveness on the field made it difficult for the Eagles to sell tickets and to be profitable. Compounding the Eagles problems was players signed with teams that offered the most money, or if the money being equal, players chose to sign with the most prestigious teams at the time, who had established a winning tradition. As a result, the NFL was dominated by the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers, the New York Giants and the Boston Redskins. Bell's inability to sign a desired prospect, Stan Kostka, sometime previously, depending on sources, eventually led Bell to believe the only way to bring a competitive parity to the NFL was for all teams to have an equal opportunity to sign eligible players. At a league meeting on May 18, 1935, Bell proposed a draft be instituted to enhance the competitive parity on the field in order to ensure the financial viability of all franchises. His proposal was adopted unanimously that day, although the first draft would not occur until the next offseason. In the reduced, nine team, 1935 NFL league, they finished in last place at 2–9, thus securing themselves the first pick in the draft. On February 8, 1936, the first NFL draft began and it was continued and finished the next day. Bell acted as master of ceremonies and the draft's immediate effect was stopping the escalating salaries of new players, and in this respect, contemporary critics charged it was anti-labor.
In their first three years, the Eagles franchise lost about $85,000. In the spring of 1936, the Eagles franchise was put up for public auction. Bell became sole owner with a winning bid of, depending on sources, $4,000 $4,500, or $5,000. Austerity measures forced Wray to be let go, and Bell became head coach. Bert made the 102,000 capacity Municipal Stadium the new home field for the Eagles for the 1936 NFL season and coached them to a 1–11 finish, still their worst record ever. At league meetings in December, an application for an NFL franchise in Los Angeles was denied because Bell and Rooney argued Los Angeles was too far of a distance to travel for games. The 1937 NFL season began with a new franchise, Cleveland Rams, in the Western Division and a relocated Redskins to Washington, D.C., and for the Eagles, it finished with a 2–8–1 record. With a 5–6 record in 1938, the franchise made its first profit ($7,000). The Eagles finished 1–9–1 in '39 and 1–10 in the 1940 season.
A series of events that resulted in the sale of the Steelers and the Eagles began in 1940 which confuse even the most knowledgeable football historians. Alexis Thompson was in the market to buy a sports franchise sometime around 1940 and he finally focused his efforts on an NFL club. Published reports at the time indicated Rooney had lost approximately $100,000 on the Steelers since entering the league. Albeit, Thompson preferred to buy the Eagles because it was in Philadelphia, he approached Rooney about buying the Steelers but they were unsuccessful in negotiating a price. In late November 1940, depending on source, Thompson, or representatives for Thompson had approached Bell with the intention of buying the Eagles. Bell had told Thompson the Eagles were not for sale. Not deterred, Thompson suggested to Bell that Bell and Rooney should talk together about one of them selling their teams and then entering into a partnership. Bell notified Rooney of Thompson's offer to buy the Eagles and his refusal to sell. Rooney had the Steelers' board of directors offer Bell a 20% commission if he could negotiate a sale of the Steelers to Thompson. On December 11, 1940, the league approved the sale of the Steelers to Thompson. Rooney took the proceeds from the sale ($160,000, or $165,000, depending on sources) and then immediately bought a 50% stake in the Eagles. On April 3, 1941 it was announced that Bell and Rooney would move their franchise to Pittsburgh, and Thompson would move his franchise to Philadelphia. Furthermore, Bell and Rooney's franchise would be named the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Thompson's franchise would be named the Philadelphia Eagles. This sequence of events in the transaction have been nicknamed as the Pennsylvania Polka by sports historians and was brought to its final step because Rooney did not want to leave Pittsburgh. Bell and Rooney apportioned $7,500 annual salaries for each of them, pursuant to the Steelers being profitable, and they became president and vice-president, respectively. One inescapable fact is that if Bell had sold the Eagles directly to Thompson and then bought a stake in the Steelers, then Rooney would have never had to pay Bell a 20% commission. Ostensibly, Rooney had provided financial assistance to Bell.
By the opening of training camp, Rooney would become the general manager and Bell would become the head coach. In their inaugural season, Bell was resigned to the Steelers having a dreadful season after Rooney told a reporter in training camp, depending on sources, that the team had a new name and new uniforms but they looked liked, the "...same old Pirates..." or "'They still like Steelers to me—in green jerseys.'" After losing the first two games of the 1941 season, Rooney pressured Bell into resigning as head coach. Bell's coaching career ended with a 10–46–2 record. For coaches with at least five years in the NFL, it was the worst record in the history of the NFL.
By 1943, 40% of NFL players had been drafted into the United States Armed Forces because of World War II. The number of players available from the previous season's teams were for the Steelers 6, Cardinals 10, Detroit 12, New York 13, Green Bay and Cleveland 14, and the Eagles 16. This shortage of players could have been eradicated if African Americans had been integrated into the teams. Some owners wanted to shut down the league until the war ended, but Bell was one of the owners arguing against it because the league might not be able to jump start itself after the war, it was their duty as patriots to continue the league, and Major League Baseball was continuing its schedule. Consequently, the Steelers and Eagles were forced to pool their players to field a team and temporarily merge for the 1943 season, into a team referred to as the Steagles. The Chicago Cardinals, however, suspended their participation in the league for the 1943 season. The Steelers merger with the Eagles concluded when the season ended. The following season, the Cardinals were able to resume operations because the Steelers merged with them in a team referred to as Card-Pitt.
As president of the club, Bell handled more of the contract negotiations than Rooney and Bell was considered more stingy with the players than Rooney. Template:Citation needed However, throughout his partnership with Rooney, Bell suffered financially and Rooney bought an increasing, unspecified, share of the Steelers from Bell. Eventually, Rooney gained controlling interest of the Steelers.
In September, 1944, Ward organized a group of investors to create the AAFC for the purpose of competing against the NFL. The AAFC owners began competing with the NFL for the best players throughout 1945 and consequently player salaries were immediately driven up drastically.Template:Citation needed At the end of the 1945 season, Rooney believed the Steelers were in the most financially perilous position since he entered the NFL with the Pirates.
When Elmer Layden was hired as NFL commissioner in 1941, Arch Ward was viewed as dictating the hiring of Layden. Some owners had been upset because they believed they were not given fair representation on who should become the commissioner. Throughout 1945, Dan Topping, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Mara, had been feuding because Mara would not permit Topping to use Yankee Stadium as his home field, due to the stadium's proximity to the Giants home field, the Polo Grounds. Mara was invoking territorial rights to block Topping's move. (Territorial rights, originally defined in the NFL constitution in 1921, was redefined by 1926 to permit a team to block another team from placing its home field in the same area.) As a result of this feud and a total payment of $100,000 the owners of AAFC teams agreed to give Topping, Topping took his Dodgers from the NFL to the AAFC. Some of the owners believed Layden had a conflict of interest in dealing with the AAFC because Ward was seen as his benefactor in 1941. At a league meeting after Topping's departure in 1945, the rise in player's salaries as a result of the competition from the AAFC, Layden's perceived unconcerned attitude about the threat of the AAFC, and Topping's departure contributed to Layden getting fired on January 11, 1946. Bell, who was not well respected in the Pittsburgh sports community at the time, was selected to replace Layden. On January 12, 1946, Bell's selection to commissioner became official; Bell had become the second commissioner of the NFL. Bell sold his ownership in the Steelers to RooneyTemplate:Citation needed and was given a three-year contract by the NFL at $20,000 per year.
At the same meeting, Dan Reeves, owner of the Cleveland Rams, was denied a request by the other NFL owners to move his team to Los Angeles. Reeves threatened to end his relationship with the NFL and get out of the professional football business altogether unless the Rams transfer to Los Angeles was permitted. Bell negotiated a settlement and, as a result, the Los Angeles Rams were created. and the NFL had become the first professional coast-to-coast sports entertainment industry.Template:Citation needed After the Rams had received approval to move to Los Angeles, the Rams entered into negotiations to lease the Los Angeles Coliseum with the Coliseum commission. The commission advised the Rams that a precondition to them getting a lease was that they would have to integrate the team with at least one African American; the Rams agreed to this condition. Subsequently, the Rams signed Kenny Washington on March 21, 1946, and racial segregation in the NFL was completely ended. The signing of Washington caused 'all hell to break loose...' among the owners of the NFL franchises, albeit no details are provided what that entailed.
Filchock-Hapes gambling scandalEdit
The day before the 1946 Championship game, two players for the Giants, Frank Filchock and Merle Hapes, had been accused of being offered bribes to fix the game from Alvin Paris. Mayor William O'Dwyer had Jack Mara, Wellington Mara, Steve Owen, and Bell informed of the police evidence against the two players. With minor differences in the setting depending on sources, the mayor interviewed the players one at a time. Under questioning, Hapes admitted he was offered a bribe and Filchock denied being offered one. Several hours later, Paris was arrested and confessed to attempting the bribery. Hapes was suspended by Bell, but Filchock was allowed to play in the game. At the NFL meeting the day after the game, Bell became worried he was about to be fired when when the owner's asked him to step outside. When he returned he was, he was advised his contract was changed to a five-year pact at $30,000 per year. During Paris's trial weeks later, Filchock testified to being offered the bribe.
The NFL's concern over the threat of gamblers affecting the outcome of a game dated to at least 1933. During his tenure as NFL president, Joe Carr let managers and owners know that anyone involved in a betting scam would be permanently banned from the NFL. As NFL commissioner, Layden had once conducted an investigation into a betting scam, without advising the owners, which did not reveal any conspiracy. Bell, however, was proactive in ensuring games were not tampered with by gamblers. He announced plans to get as much legislation written across the country to make it illegal to fix games and then lobbied to do so. His brother, John C. Jr., the Governor of Pennsylvania, promised to ask the Pennsylvania General Assembly to enact such a law. Bert then wrote the anti-gambling resolution to the league constitution, which was approved by the NFL in January 1947. As a result, the commissioner's office could permanently ban any player for betting on a game or for withholding information on a game being possibly fixed. Subsequently, Filchock and Hapes were suspended indefinitely by Bell. Bert put employees on the NFL payroll to investigate potential betting scams. In July, to prevent gamblers from getting any inside information, he mandated that each team had to publish an injury report, 48 hours prior to each game, listing the players who may not, or could not, play (albeit sources are unclear if this list included players who would not play because of personal obligations, i.e. death in the family, etc.) and Bell did not reveal the names of officials he would assign to games. In 1949, Pennsylvania became the last state with an NFL franchise to pass a law making it a crime to bribe an athlete. In 1953, Bell forced one of the owners of the Cleveland Browns to sell all of his shares in the team because he was found to have been betting on Browns' football games. Although Bert hated to fly, as late as the mid 1950s, Bell visited the training camps of every team, each year, and made it a point to discuss with the danger gamblers posed to the league. However, Bell's efforts were not completely successful as some players did bet on their own games.
The AAFC did not start its first season until the autumn of 1946, but the AAFC began battling the NFL to get the best players almost from its inception. This battle may have unsettled Bell as Bill Dudley attributed Bell's nervous nature, during Dudley's contract negotiations with the Steelers, a possible consequence of the AAFC's creation. Overall the competition between the NFL and the AAFC, and the simultaneous raising of the NFL team roster limit from 28 to the prewar level of 33, caused the NFL payrolls to increase by 250%. The average attendance per game reported by the NFL was larger than the AAFC in 1946, but the AAFC would surpass the NFL in 1947, and 1948. However after the end of 1948 NFL season, the NFL had not shown a league wide profit for three years in a row, and neither had the AAFC. Representatives from both leagues met in Philadelphia at the end of the 1948 NFL season and were unsuccessful to coming to terms, but they had come close to agreeing. In 1949, the AAFC was still signing as many good players as the NFL. The average attendance in the NFL dropped again in the 1949 season to 23,196 and the league again did not show a profit. The primary obstacle in coming to terms with coming to terms with the AAFC was in making Paul Brown's requests amenable to the NFL owners.Template:Citation needed Bell gathered enough support from the NFL owners to override objections, and on December 9, 1949, Bell negotiated a merger between the leagues with a representative from the AAFC. Bell would stay on in his role as commissioner. Three AAFC teams (the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Colts) would be incorporated into the NFL under the newly named National-American Football Conference. Bell's handling of the NFL's conflict with the AAFC was viewed by contemporary critics in the media as a personal triumph.Template:Citation needed Later that month, his contract was changed again from a five-year to a 10-year pact at the same salary. Within three months, the NFL would eschew its merged name and revert to being the NFL. Throughout the entire process, Brown had felt that Bell treated the AAFC, and the Browns in particular, very fairly. Seeking to capitalize on the residual rivalry between the AAFC and the NFL, Bell displayed "exquisite dramatic" and business sense by scheduling the 1949 NFL champion Eagles against the former perennial AAFC champion Browns in the 1950 season opener which resulted in the Browns destroying the Eagles 35–10. The experience Bell gained from his dealing with the AAFC would help him in negotiations with the Canadian Football Leagues over competition for player talent in the 1950s.
The crafting of the NFL schedule had been a source of contention in the NFL since the 1932 NFL season. Joe Carr, the president of the NFL, had taken over the primary duty of scheduling the season beginning with the 1933 season and developing a season schedule meant dealing with, depending on sources, teams wanting to only to play other teams that drew the best crowds at home, and when visiting, or the stronger teams wanted to play the weaker teams early in the season to pad their win-loss record. But, during Layden's tenure scheduling reverted back to being a contentious affair decided during an owners' meeting each year. Layden's general approach to disagreements between the owners was to not get involved and let the owners sort out their differences. The difficulty in coming to an agreement over the NFL schedule convinced the owners to let Bell craft the schedule. The NFL by-laws were amended on January 16, 1948, and granted Bell the sole discretion in developing the NFL team schedules as long as he remained the NFL commissioner. Bell exercised this right and created the schedules so, at the start of the season, the weaker teams would play against each other and the stronger teams would play each other. Bell's goal was to augment game attendances by keeping the disparity in team standings to a minimal for as long as possible. Years later, Rooney believed one of the best thing the owners ever did was let Bell make up the schedule.
The number of television sets in America in 1947, depending on sources, increased from 60,000 to 165,000 by the end of the year. Bell was given the authority to approve of any TV announcer. But, each NFL franchise was empowered to independently market its own games on television. Halas negotiated a contract to televise all six of his home games in 1947 for $5,400. The next year Halas introduced a 75 mile blackout radius around Chicago wherein regular season home games would not be televised. Outside this radius, Halas permitted the games to be broadcast. The Western Conference title was on the line when the Bears (10–1) and Cardinals (10–1) met in the last game in 1948 at the Bears home field, Wrigley Field. Halas sold the rights for the last game for about the same amount as he received for the entire 1947 season, which was approximately, depending on sources, $5,000. In 1948, TV production increased by 500% over 1947. Also, Bell informed the owners that the 1947 and 1948 attendance records had clearly shown televising games locally had a negative impact on the sale of home tickets. Bell negotiated the first television contract for the NFL in 1949, when ABC broadcast, on the West Coast only, the 1949 championship game whereby $14,000 of the revenue for the broadcast went to the players participating in the game (none to any of the franchises in the NFL).Template:Citation needed The decade would close with all of professional football revenue from radio broadcasts amounting from 3% to 8% of its total revenue and it far outpacing the revenue received from televising games.
By 1950, depending on sources, four or eight million TV sets in America with at least 30 or 20 million Americans having access to a set, respectively. The NFL mandated home games had to be locally blacked out for the 1950 NFL season, with the exception of the Los Angeles Rams. As a result of this blackout policy, the U.S. Justice Department opened an investigation into the NFL's possible violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Los Angeles Rams broadcast all of their 1950 regular season home games and their attendance dropped off by almost 50%. The only explanation was televising home games was detrimental to attendance. A league-wide drop in attendance from broadcasting home games would be a financial disaster for the NFL. Nevertheless, at league meetings in early 1951, Bell pushed through a motion that teams could still televise their home games if they and the visiting team both agreed. Bell's salary was also increased to $40,000 a year for the remainder of his contract. However, prior to the start of the 1951 NFL season, Bell reimposed the blackout rule. In October, the Justice Department filed suit against the NFL over its blackout rules. Bell told the Chicago Tribune, "You can't give fans a game for free on TV and also expect them to go to the ballpark". Nevertheless, the suit was ordered to trial for January 1952. As a result of the return of blacking out their home games for the 1951 NFL season, the Rams attendance returned to, approximately, the same level as their 1949 attendance. After the season concluded, Bell gained control over the setting of television policy for all teams in the NFL.
In May 1953, Bell negotiated a deal with DuMont Television Network granting them the rights to nationally broadcast one game a week.Template:Citation needed The revenue from this contract was split equally amongst all the teams and amounted to about $50,000 for each team. In November, the Justice Department's case against the NFL's television policy was decided. The judge's decision permitted the blackout policy but forbid Bell, or the NFL franchises collectively, from negotiating a TV contract; The judge wrote not allowing the blackout policy would result in all the teams in the NFL becoming bankrupt.Template:Citation needed This decision, however, was subject to a possible reversal by a superior court,; nevertheless, Bell was ecstatic.
Bell's focus, with respect to television, was to showcase the NFL's best assets—the players. As a result, Bell mandated an all-star game, the Pro Bowl, be played at the end of each season. But in the early 1950s, fistfights between players were a common occurrence during gamesTemplate:Citation needed and the play sometimes denigrated to borderline assault and battery with players trying to take out opposing teams star players, with at least one team putting a bounty on another team's quarterback. Bell responded in an interview to charges the NFL had dirty players by saying, "... I have never seen a maliciously dirty football player in my life and I don't believe there are any maliciously dirty players in the National Football League." Nevertheless, Bell mandated broadcasts would have to follow a strict rule of conduct. TV announcers would not be permitted to criticize the game, and neither fights, nor injuries, could be televised. Bell said announcers were 'salesman for professional football' and 'we are selling football' and 'we do not want kids believing that engaging in fights is the way to play football.' Bell was criticized frequently for censoring TV broadcasts, a charge he dismissed as not pertinent because he was advertising a product on TV and was not impeding the print media.
Prior to the start of the 1956 season, CBS began broadcasting regular season games for the first time, and NBC began broadcasting the NFL championship game for the first time. Armed with association with the new broadcasters, Bell sent out letters, to at least one owner, to advise them to not denigrate the games, or the officials of the games, in the public media. He advised that any complaints should be revealed to him, and him only.Template:Citation needed
In 1933, Tim Mara originally advocated an overtime period to remove tie games as a possible result to NFL games. But, it was not until 1947 that a sudden-death overtime was approved in the NFL, for playoff games only. For the 1958 season, the durations of timeouts was increased from 60 to 90 seconds and Bell created a new rule which instructed referees to call a few TV timeouts during a game – a change which brought criticism from sportswriters. The 1958 NFL Championship Game became the first NFL championship game decided in overtime. The game was believed to be the greatest football ever played by some contemporaries in the media. The game further increased football's marketability to television advertising, that had begun after the Giants had won the 1956 NFL Championship Game, and the drama associated with the sudden-death overtime was the catalyst. Years later, after witnessing Bell openly crying after the game, Raymond Berry attributed it Bell's immediate understanding of the impact the game would have on the popularity of the sport.
At least as early as 1943, some players were unhappy with not receiving any pay for playing in exhibition games. Roy Zimmerman was one such player. His refusal to play an exhibition game, without compensation, resulted in his trade from the Redskins to Philadelphia and him becoming the Steagles' starting quarterback. With the pending arrival of the AAFC in 1946, the NFL created a rule to ban players for five years from NFL associated employment if they had left the NFL to join the AAFC.Template:Citation needed Bill Radovich played for the Detroit Lions in 1945 and then left the NFL and played for the Los Angeles Dons in the AAFC. After two season with the Dons, Radovich was offered a job with the San Francisco Clippers, a team from the NFL affiliated Pacific Coast League. The Clippers were advised by the NFL that Radovich was blacklisted. Also, it was warned that if they hired Radovich, then they would suffer unspecified consequences. Radovich's offer was withdrawn by the Clippers.Template:Citation needed Unable to land a job in the NFL or the Pacific Coast League, Radovich filed suit against the NFL seeking damages.
The case weighed very heavily on Bert as it worked its way through the judicial system. All throughout this process, Bert was continually advised by his brother that the case was not winnable.Template:Citation needed
The original cause for the players to begin to unionize was because of the players' dissension with having to play exhibition games and not receive any pay. Depending on sources, the first concrete steps towards the unionization of the players began when two players from the Browns approached Creighton Miller,, or George Ratterman agreed to a lawyer's, Creighton Miller, solicitation to become his client and form a players association.
In Radovich v. National Football League, the Supreme Court ruled in 1957 in favor of Radovich. Furthermore, the court declared the NFL was subject to antitrust laws. The implications from the Court's ruling were the legality of the draft and the NFL's reserve clause was dubious. Furthermore, the Court delineated a disparity in American professional sports which the Court said was 'unrealistic, inconsistent, or illogical'; professional baseball was not subject to antitrust laws, but other professional sports were. The Court suggested it was Congress' responsibility to legislate uniformity across all of professional sports.
Congress immediately scheduled hearings on the ramifications of the ruling. Bell pressed a case in the media for the NFL being legislatively granted an exemption from antitrust regulations. Bell explained the NFL was a sport and not a business.Template:Citation needed Bell registered himself as a Congressional lobbyist. The House Judiciary subcommittee met in July 1957. The chairman of the subcommittee, Representative Emanuel Celler of New York, argued that the NFL draft was illegal and should be abolished. Red Grange (depending on sources, "the principal witness" or "one of the Nation's foremost football authorities") testified before the committee and rejected Celler's assertions and said that the draft was essential and attested to having never heard of any college football players complain about the draft system.
Representatives of the NFLPA appeared before Congress and explained that the draft, and the reserve clause, were anti-labor. At the time, a large portion of the American population was in unions. Members of Congress were unmoved by Bell's arguments and it appeared as if Congress was going to revoke the NFL's implementation of the draft. Faced with Congress becoming more intimately involved with the running of the NFL, Bell formally recognized the NFLPA in hearings before Congress. However, Bell was only speaking for himself and was acting in an idealistic manner with no formal consent from the owners.Template:Citation needed Halas and Marshall were strongly against recognizing the NFLPA. At an ensuing NFL owners meeting, Rooney explained that the owners had to recognize the NFLPA or Bell would have to be removed as commissioner because he would be viewed as having no credibility. In order for the owners to formally recognize the NFLPA, the owners had to agree in a vote that required a super majority. Finally, Bell was able to take Carroll Rosenbloom, owner of the Baltimore Colts, privately aside and persuaded him to vote for recognizing the NFLPA. The ensuing vote passed and the owners agreed to the requests from the NFLPA.
Family life and deathEdit
Broadway actress Frances Upton, a devout Roman Catholic, and Bell secretly married on January 4, 1934. They had three children, sons Bert, Jr. (born February 19, 1936), John "Upton", (born October 13, 1937), and daughter Jane Upton (born February 1, 1942). Sometime after his father's death in 1935, Bell and his family moved into his father's estate in Radnor, Pennsylvania, which had been bequeathed equally to Bert and his brother. Bell's desire to maintain ownership of the Eagles amidst its financial losses from 1936 to 1938 eventually led him to convince his brother to sell their father's estate sometime around 1938. Bell and his family moved into a hotel, which was either previously owned by his father or presently owned by his father's estate, in Center City, Philadelphia. The Bells then lived in various rental properties in Philadelphia and Narberth, Pennsylvania until sometime around the summer of 1950. They then moved into a home he bought in Narberth, where he would live the rest of his life. This transient lifestyle was due to necessity, as Bell was not financially secure enough to afford a home.
As part-owner or owner of an NFL team, Bell never had an African American player on any of his teams. His son, Bert, Jr., adamantly believed his father was not a racist. He recounted an incident when Emlen Tunnell's brother approached Bell inquiring about Emlen becoming an NFL player, and Bell subsequently called the Giants on Tunnell's behalf; consequently, Tunnell integrated the Giants before the start of the 1948 NFL season. The death of Tim Mara in February 1959 unsettled Bell, who suffered a heart attack that month. Bell converted to Catholicism in the summer of 1959 because of the lifelong urging of his wife, Mara's death, and his enduring friendship with Rooney, a practicing Catholic.
In 1958, Bell had been advised by his doctor to avoid going to football games, to which he responded, "I'd rather die watching football than in my bed with my boots off." As late as the 1958 season, the Eagles held complimentary box seats for Bell and guests to watch games at Franklin Field. However, Bell would customarily buy his own ticket to home games and sit among the fans. Sitting behind the Franklin Field end zone with fans during the fourth quarter of an Eagles game against the Steelers on October 11, 1959, Bell suffered a heart attack and died later that day at age sixty-four. Bell's funeral on October 14, 1959, at Narberth's St. Margaret Roman Catholic Church brought hundreds of admirers. Monsignor Cornelius P. Brennan delivered the eulogy. Dignitaries and many close friends attended the mass. Dominic Olejniczak, president of the Packers, and the 11 owners of the NFL were honorary pallbearers. Bell was interred at Cavalry Cemetery in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
Legacy and honorsEdit
On September 7, 1963, Bell was in the first enshrinement class for the Professional Football Hall of Fame. The first NFL players' pension plan, the Bert Bell National Football League Retirement Plan, was approved on May 24, 1962.Template:Citation needed He was inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame charter class of 2004, and Haverford's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010. The Maxwell Football Club, which Bell founded in 1935, has presented the best NFL player of the year with the Bert Bell Award since 1959. The Bert Bell Benefit Bowl was played annually from 1960 through 1969.
Commissioners of sports were, idealistically, designed to be completely neutral in mediating disputes between players and owners, but in reality they tended to back the owners over the players. Bell, however, was contemporaneously seen as ensuring the owners treated the players fairly. "The NFL's strict policing of gambling", which Bell originated, "continues to this day." Bell was criticized as being too strict with his blackout policy when he refused to let sold-out games to be televised locally, claiming it would be considered dishonest to the paying customers. Despite Bell's achievements and acclaim, at league meetings to determine Bell's successor, Bell's "good friend", Carol Rosenbloom, and Halas were adamant in rejecting any candidate who was viewed as maintaining the status quo with respect to NFL policies. Before his passing, Bell had told his son, Bert Jr., that he thought the best man qualified to replace him was Paul Brown. Rooney was offered the position of commissioner but he replied that he was not so foolish as to take over Bell's position. Pete Rozelle was eventually elected the third NFL commissioner.
At Bell's funeral, representatives of the NFLPA honored Bell by placing a wreath at his grave.Template:Citation needed After negotiating a pension plan in 1959, little progress was made between the NFLPA and the NFL. Rozelle was not as willing a participant as entering into negotiations with the NFLPA as Bell had willing to be when Bell recognized the NFLPA before Congress in 1958. The NFLPA did not formally become a union until registering with the U.S. Department of Labor in 1968.
Bell's rationale for creating the NFL draft, to make the league more competitive, was "hailed by contemporaries and sports historians as a move that made the NFL more" popular, although its implementation did not show immediate results. Bell's version of the draft not only limited players salaries, but it all also "penalized" players by forcing them to play for the worst teams and it was eventually ruled, years after his passing, as being unconstitutional.
Bell's balancing of television broadcast against protecting game attendance during the 1950s had left professional football as the "healthiest professional sport in America", at the time of his passing. Bell had understood that the NFL needed a cooperative television contract with revenue-sharing but he was never able to overcome the obstacles to achieve it. His thoughts on TV revenue-sharing would eventually, through his advice to Bob Howsam, find its way to Rozelle, who successfully lobbied to get the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 passed to legalize revenue sharing, which had been formerly illegal. This allowed Rozelle to implement league-wide sharing of TV revenue for all NFL games starting with the 1962 NFL season. This revenue-sharing would assist small-market teams, such as the Green Bay Packers, by giving them the financial resources to obtain the talent necessary to give them the potential to win a game against any large-market team. The competitive balance that existed in the NFL assisted football in its rise in becoming the most popular sport in America.Template:Citation needed Bell had often said, "On any given Sunday, any team in our league can beat any other team."
- Bell, Bert, "The Money Game." Liberty Magazine, XIII (November 28, 1936), pp. 59–60.
- Bell, Bert, "Offensive Football." Popular Football, (Winter 1941), p. 111.
- Bell, Bert, "This is Commissioner Bell Speaking." Pro Football Illustrated, XII (1952), pp. 60–63.
- Bell, Bert; with Martin, Paul, "Do the Gamblers Make a Sucker Out of You?." Saturday Evening Post, CCXXI (November 6, 1948), p. 28.
- Bell, Bert; with Pollock, Ed, "Let's Throw Out the Extra Point." Sport, XV (October 1953), p. 24–25.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 6.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Claassen, 1963, p. 335.
- ↑ "Sport: A Pride of Lions", Time, November 29, 1954. Retrieved on 4 September 2011.
- ↑ Yost, 2006, p. 54.
- ↑ Didinger and Lyons write his birth occurred sometime in the year 1894. Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 6.
- ↑ All (Rothe, et. al.) known contemporary sources of Bell lists his date of birth as February 25, 1894. King, 2005, p. 20.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Lyons, Bell's biographer, writes he was born in 1893. Lyons, 2010, p. 1.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 MacCambridge, 2005, p. 41.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Lyons, 2010, p. 2.
- ↑ Yost, 2006, p. 67.
- ↑ The Several modes of instituting criminal proceedings in Pennsylvania. Retrieved on 21 September 2011.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 3.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 1, 3.
- ↑ PENN FOOTBALL: ORIGINS TO 1901. Retrieved on 24 May 2011.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Lyons, 2010, pp. 3–4.
- ↑ Sullivan, 1968, p. 23-24.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 4.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 King, 2005, p. 21.
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Bert Bell heads Haverford School Hall of Fame induction class (March 14, 2010). Retrieved on 17 May 2011.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 2-3, 5.
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 5–7.
- ↑ Rothe incorrectly writes Bell graduated from Haverford in 1915. Rothe, 1950, p. 34.
- ↑ Zeitlin, Dave (July 28, 2009). The Man Who Modernized Pro Football. Retrieved on 24 May 2011.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 6–7.
- ↑ MacCambridge credits all wins, losses and ties from 1915 to Brooke. MacCambridge, 2009, p. 1080.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 7–8.
- ↑ 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 MacCambridge, 2005, p. 42.
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 28.2 MacCambridge, 2009, p. 1080.
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 Weyand, 1957, p. 126.
- ↑ Hibner, 1993, p. 22.
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 9.
- ↑ Hibner, 1993, p. 24.
- ↑ MacCambridge, 2009, p. 1440.
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 10.
- ↑ Hibner, 1993, p. 27.
- ↑ Hibner, 1993, p. 25.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, pp. 11–15.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, pp. 16–20.
- ↑ 39.0 39.1 39.2 Lyons, 2010, p. 20.
- ↑ Umphlett, 1992, pp. 143–144.
- ↑ Lyons, indirectly, refutes MacCambridge's and Willis' claim that Bell graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Lyons, 2010, p. 20–21.
- ↑ 42.0 42.1 Willis, 2010, pp. 310–311.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 22–23.
- ↑ Spinner plays were offensive fake hand-offs and either an ensuing quarterback keep, or forward pass. Danzig, 1956, pp. 90–92.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 25–27.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, pp. 30–32.
- ↑ Rothe, et. al., write Bell coached at Temple in 1930 and 1931, only. Rothe, 1950, p. 34.
- ↑ Lyons write, in a possible contradiction to his own writing in the same book, that Bell starting coaching at Temple in 1931. Lyons, 2010, p. 28.
- ↑ Willis writes Bell was an assistant coach at Temple from 1930 to the end of the 1931 season. Willis, 2010, p. 310.
- ↑ MacCambridge, 2009, p. 1081.
- ↑ Lyons lists Warner becoming head coach in 1934. Lyons, 2010, p. 28.
- ↑ Lyons writes, against common sense, it was Jack Mara, Tim's son, as the person he befriended. p. 29. Lyons, 2010, pp. 23, 29.
- ↑ 53.0 53.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 49.
- ↑ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 56, 95.
- ↑ 55.0 55.1 Westcott, 2001, p. 101.
- ↑ Ruck; Patterson, and Weber, 2010, p. 95.
- ↑ Algeo, 2006, p. 13.
- ↑ Westcott does not list the dates when it was signed by the General Assembly or the Governor. Westcott, 2001, p. 101.
- ↑ Willis implies the scaling back of the Blue Laws were already a foregone conclusion in 1933 prior to the Steelers, Eagles, and Reds entry into the NFL. Willis, 2010, p. 303–304.
- ↑ Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 28.
- ↑ Claassen writes of two other owners, Fitzeugene Dixon and Paul Brown. Claassen, 1963, p. 336.
- ↑ 62.0 62.1 Lyons writes there were four partners besides Wray and Bell, and lists two of them as being Jack Potter and Fitz Eugene Dixon Sr.[sic] Lyons, 2010, p. 47.
- ↑ Peterson writes Frances and Bert were already married and does not mention the existence of other partners. Peterson, 1997, p. 112.
- ↑ Westcott lists 2 other partners besides Wray and Bell, Jack Potter and Fitz Eugene Dixon Sr.[sic] Westcott, 2001, p. 101.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 46.
- ↑ Peterson does not list the amount owed by the Yellow Jackets or to whom it was owed. Peterson, 1997, p. 112–113.
- ↑ Lyons writes the debt amounted to $11,000 which was owed to the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and Green Bay Packers. If this is true, all known sources are bereft of an explanation as to why Bell and his partners paid, ostensibly, more than 5 times as much as Rooney to establish a franchise in the NFL. At the time of the Eagles entry into the NFL, Joe Carr, president of the NFL, advocated establishing franchises in the largest cities in America. But, this agreement to pay off the debt of the Frankford Yellow Jackets can not be seen, from a common sense standpoint, as favorable in Carr's pursuit of his objective, as Bell and his partners recovered no tangible assets from the Frankford team. Lyons, 2010, p. 47.
- ↑ Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 5.
- ↑ Westcott does not list the amount owed by the Yellow Jackets or to whom it was owed. Westcott, 2001, p. 102.
- ↑ Coenen, 2005, p. 237.
- ↑ Mendelson writes all that Rooney did was pay the $2,500 entrance fee for an NFL franchise and renamed his semi-pro team from the Majestics to the Pirates and his franchise was prepared to play. Mendelson, 1996, p. 1.
- ↑ Peterson, 1997, p. 109-110.
- ↑ In the Eastern Division were the Philadelphia Eagles, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Boston Redskins, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the Western Division were the Chicago Bears, Portsmouth Spartans, Chicago Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, and the Cincinnati Reds. The winner of each division would meet in a NFL Championship Game. p. 50. Lyons, 2010, pp. 48, 50.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, pp. 48–50.
- ↑ Professional sports were then permitted to play on Sundays between 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Permit No. 1 was granted to Bell for a game the Eagles hosted against the Bears on November, 12 1933. Algeo, 2006, p. 15.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 51.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 52.
- ↑ 78.0 78.1 Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 255.
- ↑ Algeo, 2006, p. 38.
- ↑ Levy, 2003, p. 55.
- ↑ Peterson, 1997 p. 7.
- ↑ Barnett, Bob. Profile: Ray Kemp. Retrieved on 16 May 2011.
- ↑ Ross writes Kemp was offered a contract by Rooney for the 1934 season, but Kemp declined because he wanted to return to college to graduate. Ross, 1999, p. 50.
- ↑ Piascik, 2009, p. 2–5.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 310.
- ↑ Ross, 1999, p. 40, 42.
- ↑ Ross, 1999, p. 44–45.
- ↑ Peterson, 1997 p. 179.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 323–325.
- ↑ Peterson, 1997, p. 122.
- ↑ McDonough writes Richards paid $15,000 to buy the Spartans and also agreed to pay off $6,500 of their debut. McDonough, 1994, p. 50.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 327–328.
- ↑ Gill, Bob. THE ST. LOUIS GUNNERS (PDF). Retrieved on 2011-05-19.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 53.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 54.
- ↑ 96.0 96.1 96.2 96.3 MacCambridge, 2005, p. 43.
- ↑ The three most prestigious teams at the time were the Bears, Giants, and the Packers. Maule, 1964, p. 15.
- ↑ The players had an auxiliary financial incentive to play with the best teams because 60% of the profit for the NFL championship game went to the players on the winning team and 40% went to the players on the losing team. Dunscomb, George. "$6,000 for a Touchdown: George Halas of the Chicago Bears Tells of Costs of Running a Pro Team", Saturday Evening Post, 1936-12-12, pp. 16, 40, 42. Retrieved on 2011-09-15.
- ↑ 99.0 99.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 56.
- ↑ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 108.
- ↑ Lyons writes Bell tried to sign Kostka in 1933. If this is true and MacCambridge p. 43. is also true, then Lyons was trying to sign Kotska while he was a sophomore or junior in college. However Lyons could have made a mistake and the year could have been 1934. Lyons, 2010, p. 56.
- ↑ 102.0 102.1 Peterson, 1997, p. 119.
- ↑ Williams, 2004, p. 41.
- ↑ Didinger writes the proposal was accepted the next day, on May 19, 1935. Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 256.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 57–58.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 341–343.
- ↑ DeVito writes, according to Halas, it was adopted because of Tim's and Halas' support. DeVito, 2006, p. 84.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 337.
- ↑ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 44.
- ↑ 110.0 110.1 110.2 Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 256.
- ↑ 111.0 111.1 Williams, 2004 p. 41–42.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 59.
- ↑ Peterson, 1997, p. 119–120.
- ↑ 114.0 114.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 63.
- ↑ Lyons writes Bell became the sole owner but then writes there were other stock holders in the franchise. Lyons, 2010, p. 63.
- ↑ Claassen writes Wray was not let go until after the end of the 1937 season. Claassen, 1963, p. 342.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 64.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 65.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 355.
- ↑ Hessions does not write whom was responsible for turning down the Los Angeles bid or their rationale, but writes the Los Angeles bid's failure was a foregone conclusion. Hessions, 1987, p. 12.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 358.
- ↑ Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 257.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 72-73.
- ↑ Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 258.
- ↑ Yost, 2006, p. 56.
- ↑ 126.0 126.1 126.2 126.3 Lyons, 2010, p. 89.
- ↑ Algeo, 2006 p. 16.
- ↑ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 183.
- ↑ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 183–184.
- ↑ Herskowitz writes Bell netted $50,000 in cash as a result of this transaction. Herskowitz, 1900, p. 149.
- ↑ Bell was to be paid $80,000 for the half-interest in the Eagles. Lyons, 2010, p. 81-82.
- ↑ Ruck only includes the date prior to the league approval of the sale, December 9, 1940. Also, Ruck writes Bell was paid $50,000 for the half-interest in the Eagles, a figure which apparently did not include the approximately $30,000 Bell was to be paid in commission for brokering the deal. Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 184.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 87.
- ↑ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 187.
- ↑ Algeo, 2006, p. 16.
- ↑ Algeo, 2006, p. 17.
- ↑ Ruck lists the positions for Bell and Rooney, coach and business manager, respectively, as of opening day for the 1941 season. Also, sources are bereft of what their job description was in their roles. Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 187, 223.
- ↑ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 303.
- ↑ 139.0 139.1 139.2 MacCambridge, 2005, pg. 45.
- ↑ Lyons writes Bell took on the position of president of the Steelers also. Lyons, 2010, p. 88.
- ↑ Claassen, 1963, p. 247.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 90.
- ↑ "Rooney and Bell Views Differ After Early Look at Steelers", August 10, 1941. Retrieved on 2 September 2011.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 90–91.
- ↑ 145.0 145.1 Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 225.
- ↑ Algeo, 2006 p. 29, 35, 46.
- ↑ DeVito, 2006, p. 103.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 99.
- ↑ Algeo, 2006 p. 50–51.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 100.
- ↑ Algeo, 2006 p. 66.
- ↑ DeVito, 2006, p. 104.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 104.
- ↑ Peterson, 1997 p. 145.
- ↑ Algeo, 2006, p. 206.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 106.
- ↑ Algeo, 2006, p. 207–208
- ↑ Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 71.
- ↑ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 13.
- ↑ Davis, 2005, p. 196–197.
- ↑ Claassen, 1963, p. 251-252.
- ↑ 162.0 162.1 Littlewood, 1990, p. 133.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 85–86.
- ↑ Piascik, 2007, p. 52–54.
- ↑ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 14.
- ↑ Peterson, 1997, p. 149.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 135.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 212, 213.
- ↑ Littlewood, 1990, p. 161.
- ↑ The encyclopedia lists Topping being guaranteed $100,000 from each of the eight AAFC teams. Carroll; with Gershman, Neft, and Thorn, 1999, p. 527.
- ↑ Littlewood, 1990, p. 157–158.
- ↑ Peterson, 1997, p. 159.
- ↑ 173.0 173.1 MacCambridge, 2005, p. 15.
- ↑ 174.0 174.1 Davis writes that the Dodgers leaving for the AAFC under Layden's watch was the impetus for Halas wanting Layden removed and Halas was the one who initially proposed Bell as Layden's replacement. Davis, 2005, p. 199.
- ↑ Ruck does not explain the lack of respect for Bell. Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 222.
- ↑ Davis, 2005, p. 201.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 116–117.
- ↑ Williams, 2004 p. 41.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 114.
- ↑ Littlewood, 1990, p. 160.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 118.
- ↑ 182.0 182.1 MacCambridge, 2005, p. 15–16.
- ↑ Yost, 2006, p. 57–58.
- ↑ Davis writes Halas engineered the approval of the Rams move to Los Angeles, Davis, 2005, p. 201–202.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 117–118.
- ↑ The Commission consisted of "three representatives of city, county and state government [which] was brimming with USC and UCLA alums." MacCambridge, 2005, p. 19.
- ↑ Levy, 2003, p. 92–93.
- ↑ Davis, 2005, p. 202.
- ↑ Strode writes the Los Angeles Supervisors also oversaw the Coliseum. Strode, 1990, p. 140.
- ↑ Coenen, 2005, p. 123.
- ↑ MacCambridge writes he was signed on May 4, 1946. MacCambridge, 2005, p. 19.
- ↑ Ross, 1999, p. 82.
- ↑ Rathet; Brown, 1984, p. 210.
- ↑ "Merle Hapes, 75, Ex-Giant Fullback", July 21, 1994. Retrieved on 2011-04-29.
- ↑ Peterson, against overwhelming evidence, writes it was Merle Mapes and not Merle Hapes and he calls it the Mapes-Filchock gambling scandal. Peterson, 1997, p. 159–160.
- ↑ MacCambridge refers to Mr. Paris as Sydney Paris. MacCambridge, 2005, p. 48.
- ↑ Coenen, 2005, p. 127.
- ↑ 198.0 198.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 130.
- ↑ Pervin, 2009, p. 15.
- ↑ 200.0 200.1 200.2 Davis, 2005, p. 207.
- ↑ 201.0 201.1 201.2 201.3 Lyons, 2010, p. 131.
- ↑ 202.0 202.1 202.2 Pervin, 2009, p. 16.
- ↑ 203.0 203.1 Hirschberg, Al. "He Calls the Signals in Pro Football", The New York Times Magazine, 1958-11-23, pp. 23, 30, 32, 35, 37. Retrieved on 2011-09-06.
- ↑ 204.0 204.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 129.
- ↑ MacCambridge, 2005, pp. 48–49.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 306-307.
- ↑ 207.0 207.1 Layden; Snyder, 1969, p. 148.
- ↑ 208.0 208.1 208.2 MacCambridge, 2005, p. 49.
- ↑ 209.0 209.1 209.2 Lyons, 2010, p. 131–132.
- ↑ Bell Planning Campaign to Kill Gambling (January 10, 1947). Retrieved on 31 May 2011.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 132.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 203–204.
- ↑ Filchock and Hapes were reinstated in 1950 and 1954, respectively. MacCambridge, 2005, p. 49.
- ↑ Davis, 2005, p. 208–209.
- ↑ Yost, 2006, p. 60.
- ↑ Daley, 1963, p. 193.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, pp. 134–135.
- ↑ Hirschberg, Al. "He Calls the Signals in Pro Football", The New York Times Magazine, 1958-11-23, pp. 23, 30, 32, 35, 37. Retrieved on 2011-09-06. Note: Source is bereft of any date when Bell instituted this policy.
- ↑ 219.0 219.1 219.2 Lyons, 2010, p. 142.
- ↑ Brown; with Clary, 1979, p. 230-232.
- ↑ Patton, 1984, p. 48.
- ↑ Summerall only attests to Bell visiting the Giants camp. Summerall; with Levin, 2010, p 36-37.
- ↑ U.S. House Committee III, 1957, p. 2587.
- ↑ Gifford; with Richmond, 2008, p. 29.
- ↑ Littlewood, 1990, p. 166.
- ↑ This was the third rival professional football league to begin competition. Staudohar, 1986, p. 56.
- ↑ Piascik, 2007, p. 11.
- ↑ Whittingham, 1984, p. 229.
- ↑ Davis, 2005, p. 203–204.
- ↑ The attendance figures were adulterated by the NFL and AAFC because they were in a marketing battle for popularity, the AAFC tickets were cheaper than the NFL, and some AAFC gave away many tickets to fill their stadiums. Coenen, 2005, p. 125–126.
- ↑ AAFC about 25,000 to NFL about 33,000. Coenen, 2005, p. 125.
- ↑ AAFC 32,651 to NFL 30,624. Piascik, 2007, p. 83.
- ↑ AAFC 28,904 to NFL 25,421 Piascik, 2007, p. 119.
- ↑ 234.0 234.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 171.
- ↑ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 50.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 146.
- ↑ Piascik, 2007, p. 126.
- ↑ Piascik, 2007, p. 131.
- ↑ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 101.
- ↑ Davis, 2005, p. 229.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 150.
- ↑ 242.0 242.1 MacCambridge, 2005, p. 52.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 147.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 163.
- ↑ Brown; with Clary, 1979, p. 194.
- ↑ Peterson, 1997, p. 191-192.
- ↑ Brown; with Clary, 1979, p. 197.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 302, 303, 308, 371, 383.
- ↑ Yost, 2006, p. 61.
- ↑ 250.0 250.1 Sullivan, 1968, p. 26.
- ↑ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 40.
- ↑ 252.0 252.1 Other sources (MacCambridge, Ruck, et. al.) incorrectly state the time Bell was authorized to develop the schedule. These sources identify it as a five year duration even though Bell only had four years left on his contract as NFL commissioner. Maule, 1964, p. 242.
- ↑ 253.0 253.1 Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 248.
- ↑ Paul, 1974, p. 263.
- ↑ Powers, 1984, p. 46.
- ↑ Coenen only tallies a number of television sets for the year 1947—100,000. Coenen, 2005, p. 153.
- ↑ MacCambridge only tallies a number of television sets for the year 1947−26,000. MacCambridge, 2005, p. 68.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 133.
- ↑ 259.0 259.1 259.2 Coenen, 2005, p. 153.
- ↑ Davis, 2005, p. 259-260, 266, 268–269.
- ↑ Davis, 2005, p. 226–227.
- ↑ Davis writes Halas received an additional, undisclosed sum from a second broadcaster. Davis, 2005, p. 268–269.
- ↑ 263.0 263.1 Peterson, 1997, p. 196.
- ↑ Powers, 1984, p. 52
- ↑ 265.0 265.1 Coenen, 2005, p. 154.
- ↑ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 290.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 156–157.
- ↑ Coenen writes the NFL received $20,000 for the 1948 championship game but does not explain what they did with it and who negotiated the contract. Furthermore, according to Lyons $14,000 of the money for 1949 game went to the players, but the actual remaining amount is not known nor is its distribution accounted for. Coenen, 2005, p. 155–156.
- ↑ Herskowitz writes about 9% of Americans owned a television set. Herskowitz, 1990, p. 21.
- ↑ Coenen, 2005, p. 157.
- ↑ 271.0 271.1 Peterson, 1997, p. 197.
- ↑ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 70.
- ↑ The Rams losses at the gate were completely covered by the television broadcaster with an additional 5% augmenting the Rams windfall. The Rams front office was ecstatic because they were able to show a profit from the broadcasts and received free television exposure which gave them the potential to reap thousands of new fans. Hessions, 1987, p. 45.
- ↑ 274.0 274.1 274.2 Rader, 1984, p. 86.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 174–175.
- ↑ Davis, 2005, p. 271.
- ↑ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 73.
- ↑ Coenen, 2005, p. 155.
- ↑ Coenen, 2005, p. 157–158.
- ↑ Coenen writes the games were broadcast "on Friday or Saturday nights, and on holidays" but does not mention the contract was agreed to in May of 1953. Coenen, 2005, p. 158.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 196.
- ↑ Peterson, 1997, p. 198.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 199–200.
- ↑ Patton, 1984, p. 55.
- ↑ Paul, 1974, p. 28-29.
- ↑ Brown; with Clary, 1979, p. 214.
- ↑ Ratterman; with Deindorfer, 1962, p. 125.
- ↑ Graham, Otto. "Football Is Getting Too Vicious", CNN, October 11, 1954. Retrieved on 17 August 2011.
- ↑ Ratterman; with Deindorfer, 1962, p. 50-51.
- ↑ 290.0 290.1 Maule, Tex. "I Don't Believe There Is Dirty Football.", CNN, January 21, 1957. Retrieved on 20 August 2011.
- ↑ King, 2005, p. 37.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 282.
- ↑ Patton writes NBC paid $100,000 for the rights to broadcast the game but does not mention how much CBS paid. Patton, 1984, p. 37.
- ↑ Rader writes CBS paid "slightly more than one million dollars" to broadcast the regular season games but does not mention how much NBC paid. Rader, 1984, p. 87.
- ↑ Willis, 2010, p. 301.
- ↑ DeVito, 2006, p. 83.
- ↑ Lyons interpretation could be viewed as Bell having originated an overtime period or perhaps the necessary arguments to convince the owners to implement it for playoff games. Lyons, 2010, p. 289.
- ↑ Pauses after a quarter ended were 60 seconds. Gifford; with Richmond, 2008, p. 121.
- ↑ Maule, 1964, p. 245.
- ↑ Powers, 1984, p. 84.
- ↑ Gifford uses literary license when he writes "The overtime rule had been instituted for this game..." p. 210 Gifford; with Richmond, 2008, p. 207-208, 210, 214.
- ↑ Maule, Tex. "Here's Why It Was The Best Football Game Ever", CNN, January 19, 1959. Retrieved on 18 August 2011.
- ↑ Gifford; with Richmond, 2008, p. 230.
- ↑ Patton, 1984, p. 41.
- ↑ Gifford; with Richmond, 2008, p. 213.
- ↑ Powers, 1984, p. 88.
- ↑ Gifford; with Richmond, 2008, p. 229.
- ↑ Greatest Game: Remembering ’58 NFL finale (December, 13 2008). Retrieved on 31 May 2011.
- ↑ Algeo, 2006, p. 85, 105–105.
- ↑ Carroll; with Gershman, Neft, and Thorn, 1999, p. 1197.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 154.
- ↑ Piascik, 2007, p. 27.
- ↑ Piascik, 2007, p. 27–28.
- ↑ Ratterman; with Deindorfer, 1962, p. 46-47.
- ↑ U.S. House Committee III, 1957, p. 2592.
- ↑ Both Coenen and Staudohar list Abe Gibron and Dante Lavelli as being responsible for first approaching Miller. Coenen, 2005, p. 181.
- ↑ 317.0 317.1 Staudohar, 1986, p. 63.
- ↑ Miller and Ratterman were, years later, kicked out of the players association, by the other members of the players association, for not being hawkish enough with the owners. p. 250. Brown; with Clary, 1979, p. 250.
- ↑ 319.0 319.1 Coenen, 2005, p. 182.
- ↑ 320.0 320.1 Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 293.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 255–256.
- ↑ Burton, Rick. "Backtalk; From Hearst to Stern: The Shaping of an Industry Over a Century", The New York Times, December 19, 1999. Retrieved on 31 August 2011.
- ↑ Pro Football Would Welcome Probe, Says NFL Commissioner Bert Bell (February 26, 1957). Retrieved on 31 August 2011.
- ↑ U.S. House Committee I, 1957, p. 1.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 261.
- ↑ 326.0 326.1 Carroll, 1999, p. 199.
- ↑ A list of persons connected with football and there contemporary job description that provided verbal testimony to Congress is: Bert Bell, Chuck Bednarik, George Connor (assistant coach, Bears), Red Grange, George Halas, Jack Jennings (player representative, Cardinals), Sid Luckman (special quarterback coach, Bears), Creighton Miller (legal counsel, NFLPA), George Ratterman (former player), Kyle Rote (player representative, Giants), and Norman Van Brocklin (player representative, Rams). pp. III-IV. U.S. House Committee III, 1957, p. 2596.
- ↑ 328.0 328.1 Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 78.
- ↑ U.S. House Committee III, 1957, p. 2580a-2580at.
- ↑ The players were granted $50 play for exhibition games, a $5,000 minimum yearly salary, a continuation of their contracts if they became injured, and free medical care during the life of their contract. Staudohar, 1986, p. 63.
- ↑ Lyons writes they were officially married on May 6, 1934 at St. Madeleine Sophie Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia. p. 41 Lyons, 2010, p. 33–38.
- ↑ 332.0 332.1 Bernstein, Ralph. "Heart Attack Is Fatal To Bert Bell", October 12, 1959. Retrieved on 2010-11-15.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 60, 70, 92.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, pp. 166–167.
- ↑ Pervin, 2009, p. 17.
- ↑ Tunnell was the first African American in the history of the New York Giants. p. 166 Ross, 1999, p. 111.
- ↑ 337.0 337.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 308.
- ↑ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 311.
- ↑ Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 26.
- ↑ Ruck; Patterson, and Weber, 2010, p. 84.
- ↑ Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 267.
- ↑ 342.0 342.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 275.
- ↑ Davis, 2005, p. 337.
- ↑ Davis, 2008, pp. 90–91.
- ↑ Ruck writes he died at age sixty-five. Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 313.
- ↑ Lyons lists his death as occurring on October 12, 1959. Lyons, 2010, p. 306.
- ↑ Lyons, Robert S. (February 4, 2011). The man who saved the Packers. philly.com. Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved on 2011-02-06.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 311.
- ↑ Lyons abridges the pallbearers as the "12 owners." Lyons, 2010, p. 312.
- ↑ 350.0 350.1 Lyons, 2010, p. 315.
- ↑ Penn Athletics Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 7 May 2011.
- ↑ Inductees. Retrieved on 7 May 2011.
- ↑ Rooney writes the club was founded in 1937 by Bell. Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 238.
- ↑ Football Tradition Since 1935. Retrieved on 6 May 2011.
- ↑ Staudohar, 1986, p. 9.
- ↑ Riger; with Maule, 1960 p. ?
- ↑ Yost, 2006, p. 60–61.
- ↑ Coenen, 2005, p. 167.
- ↑ "Wonderful World Of Sport", CNN, January 6, 1958. Retrieved on 17 August 2011.
- ↑ Smith, Lyall. "Detroit Free Press", CNN, October 4, 1954. Retrieved on 17 August 2011.
- ↑ Yost, 2006, p. 63.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 192.
- ↑ DeVito, 2006, p. 150.
- ↑ Rooney implies the opposite of Davis and writes Halas was for Austin Gunsel. Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 93.
- ↑ 365.0 365.1 MacCambridge, 2005, p. 107.
- ↑ Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 94.
- ↑ Berry deprecates the importance of the NFL's agreement to a pension plan with the owners in 1959 and writes:"Bell and his successor, Pete Rozelle, did not seem as willing to [bargain with the NFLPA] as Bell had indicated [when Bell recognized the NFPLA before Congress in 1958]". Berry; with Gould and Staudohar, 1986, p. 96.
- ↑ Staudohar writes: "In 1959 the [NFLPA] achieved another breakthrough when it persuaded the owners to provide a pension plan for the players." Staudohar, 1986, p. 63.
- ↑ Coenen, 2005 p. 89.
- ↑ Coenen, 2005, p. 90.
- ↑ Smith v. Pro Football, Inc., 420 F. Supp. 738, 593 F. 2d 1173 (1978). Staudohar, 1986, pp. 79–81.
- ↑ Patton, 1984, pp. 52–53.
- ↑ Davis, 2008, p. 92.
- ↑ Davis, 2008, pp. 129–130.
- ↑ Davis writes that revenue sharing, which the NFL wanted to implement, was illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act. p. 129, Davis, 2008, p. 108.
- ↑ Davis, 2008, p. 130.
- ↑ Davis, 2008, pp. 128–129.
- ↑ Lyons, 2010, p. 287.
- ↑ Smith, 1993, p. 156.
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Young adult readingEdit
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- Smith, Myron J. Jr. (1994). The College Football Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-29026-1