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Bert Bell

From Academic Kids

Bert Bell (1895-1959) was co-founder (with Lud Wray) of the Frankford Yellowjackets in 1924 (whose name was changed to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1933), and commissioner of the National Football League from 1946 until his death. He was responsible for creating the NFL amateur draft. As NFL commissioner, he merged the NFL with the All-America Football Conference, and single-handedly plotted out league schedules each season on his dining-room table using a giant checkerboard. He died of a heart attack on October 11, 1959 at Philadelphia's Franklin Field, where he was watching a game between the team he co-founded, the Eagles, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, which he briefly co-owned during World War II, when, in part owing to a wartime manpower shortage, the two teams were temporarily merged into the "Pennsylvania Steagles" (officially known as "Phil-Pitt").

He coined the phrase, "On any given Sunday, any team can beat any other team." The Bert Bell Benefit Bowl, coloquially referred to as the Playoff Bowl and first played in 1960 (the year after Bell's death), was named for him.

Preceded by:
Elmer Layden
NFL Commissioners Succeeded by:
Austin Gunsel (interim)
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