February 3, 2005 |
If his father's failing heart had held out just a few days more, Upton Bell might be viewing Super Bowl XXXIX from the Eagles owner's box instead of his Massachusetts living room. The week after NFL commissioner Bert Bell died during an Eagles game at Franklin Field in October 1959, Upton Bell's older brother got a phone call from an official at Philadelphia National Bank. The banker said Bell, the Eagles' first coach and long-time owner, had been planning to relinquish his commissioner's duties and had reached an agreement to buy back the franchise from Jim Clark for $900,000.
December 22, 2009
BERT BELL talked out of the side of his mouth, like a guy spitting out a silver spoon. Had a raspy, buzz-saw voice that could peel the paper off the Vesper Club dining room walls. Back in the day, when the National Football League needed a hands-on commissioner, Bert Bell had his fingerprints on everything, including the broadcasters' throats. "I found the minutes of one owners' meeting," Bob Lyons chuckled. "Bell proposed a motion. It said that all home teams had to provide a blackboard and chalk for every visiting team.
November 19, 1997 |
Bert Bell used to say that he loved Narberth because that's "where the real Americans are. " For the 18 years he lived at 323 Haverford Ave., Bell, commissioner of the National Football League from 1946 to 1959, would walk down to Davis' store - now Mapes 5 & 10 - buy a newspaper, and hang out talking football to his longtime cronies. At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, a group will gather again outside Mapes to unveil the Bert Bell State Historical Marker. From 9 a.m. to noon, the Narberth Post Office will issue a special Bert Bell cancellation.
August 31, 1997 |
Another NFL season begins today. At its posh Manhattan offices, the league's multibillion-dollar marketing machine is ready to break from the huddle and go deep into consumers' pockets. Hundreds of Italian-suited employees, occupying several floors of the Park Avenue headquarters, will be scrutinizing TV ratings, devising technological innovations, and monitoring every nuance of every game. "You go up there now," said Jim Gallagher, a retired Eagles public relations executive, "and they've got more people than the First Marine Division.
October 2, 2005 |
Mike Paschall of Havertown said his 10-year-old son, Nick, would "tear up the furniture" at home. Now, with the new Haverford Youth Football program, Nick "can go nuts" outside, his father said as he watched him practice one recent evening. Nick Paschall, a fifth grader at Chatham Park Elementary School, was among the mass of boys, in huddles, then lines, then piles of red jerseys with bulky shoulder pads, running, pushing, then tumbling, one on top of another. Aaah, football.
September 20, 2005 |
About the only things missing are tailgating recipes. Other than that, The Eagles Encyclopedia (Temple University Press, $35) is as thorough as an Andy Reid game plan. The 324-page "Eaglepedia," which the publisher describes as the first comprehensive history of the team, has everything a Bird-watcher could want to know - and maybe even a little more - from pro football's local beginnings as a stepchild of the Phillies and the Athletics to the Eagles' Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.
May 1, 1994 |
It started out in 1935 as a bunch of coaches, referees and football aficionados gathering at the beginning of each week to be Monday morning quarterbacks. They argued about and discussed the weekend's games, and shared their love of football. The purpose was simple: It was a club. Today, the Maxwell Club is a nationally recognized football organization that annually doles out six awards: to the best area high school player, the best college player, the best college coach, the best professional player, the best professional coach, and a lifetime contributor to professional football.
December 1, 1993 |
James R. Leonard Sr., 83, who played fullback for the Philadelphia Eagles for four seasons and earned $150 a game doing it, died Sunday at Underwood- Memorial Hospital in Woodbury. Mr. Leonard's career started at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia, where he received All-City and All-Catholic State honors. Born and raised in Pedericktown and a lifelong South Jersey resident, Mr. Leonard commuted daily from South Jersey to St. Joseph's. When he graduated in 1930, he was recruited to play at Notre Dame for Knute Rockne.
November 3, 2003 |
If Bob Carpenter could have foreseen in 1959 the dreary decades that lay ahead for the Eagles, the history of pro football in Philadelphia might have been entirely different. Carpenter might have followed through on his flirtation with a tantalizing new venture, the American Football League. He might have obtained an AFL franchise. And the Eagles, who did not have the hold on their fans then that they have now, might not have survived the competition. In the end, though, the patrician owner of the Philadelphia Phillies chose not to confront the National Football League.
February 9, 2008 |
The first NFL draft was, in many ways, a grand success for Bert Bell. The Eagles' patrician owner had devised the idea nine months earlier, selling it to his colleagues as a way to maintain a competitive balance and, not insignificantly, hold down salaries. It eventually would be successful and was a major step on Bell's journey to the NFL commissioner's post, a job he assumed a decade later. And, if all that weren't nice enough for Bell, that inaugural event took place at the old Ritz-Carlton on South Broad Street, a hotel that he happened to co-own.