Upton Bell was a top-notch NFL talent scout

Steve Stout - Sports Editor

Upton Bell was born with football in his blood.

His father, Bert Bell, co-founded the Philadelphia Eagles in 1933 and was later the NFL commissioner from 1946-59.

Following Bert Bell’s death at an Eagles’ game in 1959, Upton Bell soon landed a job working in the front office for the Baltimore Colts.

Later, he was assigned to the Colts’ scouting department, where he became a top-notch talent scout.

After the Colts’ victory in Super Bowl V, Bell was named general manager of the Patriots.

I recently asked Bell what he considered to be a player’s most important attributes.

“The two most important attributes I looked for was football intelligence that encompassed absorbing a lot of complex material and being able to execute it in a split second,” said Bell, 83. “Next, quickness, which is as important as speed. Balance, the ability to stay on your feet, which is really agility, is important. Desire can overcome your shortcomings. The Wonderlic Test I found helpful. Great size is overrated although it’s more important in today’s game.

“Most important is the realization that with all the materials you have to judge a player it is still a great guessing game. Few make it,” Bell added.

If you’re interested in NFL history, you’ll want to get a copy of Upton Bell’s book “Present at the Creation: My Life in the NFL and the Rise of America’s Game.”


Trivia Time – When the inaugural Official World Golf Ranking debuted in April of 1986, Bernhard Langer was the first-ever No. 1 ranked player.

This week’s question – Upton Bell owned which World Football League franchise?


Steve Stout

Sports Editor

Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or at [email protected]

Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or at [email protected]