Who came up with the idea for the NFL Draft? The answer is the same man who founded the Philadelphia Eagles, and came up with the idea of overtime, implemented the two-minute warning, came up with the idea of injury reports and the waiver wire. His name is Bert Bell. In this episode, Bell’s son Upton Bell, who worked for the Colts in the 1960s before becoming the New England Patriots GM, is our guest. He walks us through his father’s life and legacy through stories of how Bert Bell came up with the idea for the NFL Draft, how Bell chose the name Eagles for his franchise, and Bell’s role in the early stages of the American Football League. You can listen in the player below, and also listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts and iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Stitcher.
Enormous media coverage surrounds today’s NFL draft. It wasn’t always that way. Bob Griese told us he didn’t know the draft had taken place – even though he was the fourth-overall pick. Players from The Game before the Money era often learned their pro football destinations through newspapers, college coaches, and friends. It apparently wasn’t until the 1970s that teams called players during the draft. YEARS BEFORE THE DRAFT Chaos often surrounded acquiring talent before the draft existed. Don Hutson signed with both the Green Bay Packers and the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers after his college career at Alabama ended. NFL President Joe Carr awarded Hutson to the Packers since the Packers mailed their contract just a few minutes before the Dodgers. Hutson helped lead the Packers to 3 NFL titles and still holds NFL receiving records 8 decades later. Photo of: Don Hutson. The Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers both highly desired Minnesota All-American Stan Kostka in 1935. […]
Memories of Joe Theismann, with his thick eye black and bright single-bar facemask, are often synonymous with the Washington Redskins. But what if he hadn’t worn number 7 for the red and gold? That almost was the case as Theismann, a collegiate star for Notre Dame, was actually drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1971. Theismann, however, declined Miami’s offer of $55,000 over three years. That’s right, $55,000 over three years. Theismann asked for that amount, but the stickler was a $35,000 bonus Theismann would owe back if he missed any of the three seasons. Joe opted for the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts. In 1974, the Redskins traded for Theismann’s rights and he jumped straight into the lineup – as a punt returner. He didn’t start at quarterback until 1976. WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN? At the time Theisman was drafted, Bob Griese had been the Dolphins’ starter since 1967. He led them to the playoffs in 1970 before three […]