Upton Bell (born 1938) is a former American football executive, and now a talk show host and commentator at WCRN Talk AM 830 in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is the son of former National Football League commissioner Bert Bell and Broadway actress Frances Upton.

Football executive[edit | edit source]

Bell's first job in football was as a $65-a-week dressing room attendant for the Baltimore Colts in 1960. After working in the Colts' scouting department, Bell became the club's personnel director. His job included working in sales, publicity, marketing and with the NFL draft.[1] During his early days with the Colts, his brother Bert Bell, Jr. was the team's business manager.[2] His responsibilities included scouting and negotiating contracts with and signing of all college recruits. During Bell's tenure, the Colts were in one NFL Championship game and two Super Bowl Games, winning Super Bowl V in 1971 under new Head Coach Don McCafferty. Seventeen of the 40-man roster on that winning team were players drafted during Upton's stint as Personnel Director.[1][2] Bell held the personnel director's job until he was hired to become the General Manager of the New England Patriots (then known as the Bay State Patriots) in 1971.

At 33, Bell was the NFL's youngest General Manager.[3] One of his first moves with the Patriots was drafting Jim Plunkett with the first overall pick in that year's draft. Under his leadership the Patriots improved from 2-12 to 6-8.[4] Despite the improvement, Bell wanted to fire head coach John Mazur and hire a coach of his own choosing. The team's board of directors agreed that if the Pats lost to the Baltimore Colts, Mazur would be fired. Jim Plunkett landed an 88-yard pass to Randy Vataha for a 21-17 Patriots win.[5] The Patriots finished the following season with a 3-11 record and Bell was fired on December 5.[4]

Bell returned to professional football in 1974 with the purchase of the New York Stars. Bell relocated the team to Charlotte, North Carolina where the team was renamed the Charlotte Hornets. This venture would be short-lived due to the folding of the World Football League in 1975. One of Bell's co-owners was Arnold Palmer.[6]

Sports announcer[edit | edit source]

Starting in 1976, Bell began his media career by making guest appearances on programs such as John Sterling's show on WMCA. In 1978 he became co-host of WBZ's "Calling All Sports" with newcomer Bob Lobel. Other shows hosted by Bell include Sports Nightly on WHDH-TV (1979–1980), Sports Line on WEEI (1980–1984), Sports Beat on WSBK-TV with Joe Fitzgerald, Bob Ryan, and Bob Lobel, the Will and Upton Show with Will McDonough on WBZ-TV (1984–1988), and New England Sportsphile in 1989.

During the 1989 and 1990 NFL seasons, Bell served as an interviewer for WBZ-TV during their Patriots pregame show and newscasts. Those Bell interviewed for WBZ include George H. W. Bush, Mike Tyson, Joe Montana, Pete Rozelle, Howard Cosell, Don Shula, Deion Sanders, John Hannah, Jim Kelly, Patrick Ewing, and Stephen King.[citation needed]

Bell has also been a guest commentator on NECN and WBZ-TV's Sports Final.[7]

Bell's first color commentary experience came at WSMW, where he called college football with Bob Fouracre from 1978-1982. In 1983, Bell served as the color commentator for the Boston Breakers Professional Football team on WNEV and ESPN and was the studio host for SportsChannel New England's Breakers broadcasts. He was the color commentator for Boston College Eagles football radio broadcasts with play-by-play announcers Dan Davis in 1985 and Bob Lobel in 1986. Lobel and Bell were removed from the BC broadcast booth after one season and unsuccessfully sued for "breach of contract, deceit, negligent misrepresentation".[8] Bell was also a fill-in color commentator for SportsChannel New England's Boston Celtics games.[7]

Nationally, Bell worked on PBS Ivy League football games alongside play-by-play announcer Dick Galiette and sideline reporter Sean McDonough in 1984.[9]

Talk radio[edit | edit source]

Bell has also worked in general talk radio since 1988, hosting shows on WHDH (1988–1989), WTAG (1992–1998), WRPT/WMEX (1998–2000). He has interviewed George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Ted Kennedy, Geraldine Ferraro, Regis Philbin, Frank McCourt, Jay Leno, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Jackie Mason, Johnny Cochran and Alan Dershowitz. For three consecutive years, the Upton Bell Show was recognized by The Associated Press for Outstanding Talk Show in New England.[6]

In November 2010, Bell and Bob Lobel reunited with a Sunday morning program on WXKS 1200 Radio in suburban Boston.

Preceded by
George Sauer, Sr.
New England Patriots General Manager
Succeeded by
Chuck Fairbanks

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 http://www.getaheadpro.com/upton-bell.html
  2. 2.0 2.1 "BELL CRITICIZES POLICIES OF N.F.L.; Cites 'Commercialism' After Resigning Colts' Position". The New York Times. November 26, 1966.
  3. Dave Anderson (December 12, 1971). "2 Bells With Different Rings". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50911FB3C5E127A93C0A81789D95F458785F9. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Personalities: Patriots Oust Bell, Regain Garrett". The New York Times. December 6, 1972.
  5. Stan Grossfeld (December 1, 2005). "For Mazur, the scars remain". Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/articles/2005/12/01/for_mazur_the_scars_remain/. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  6. 6.0 6.1 http://www.fastpitchnetworking.com/pr/pressrelease.cfm?PRID=11919
  7. 7.0 7.1 http://www.uptonbell.com/bio.htm
  8. Ed Quill (September 3, 1987). "LOBEL, BELL SET FOR COURT TODAY". Boston Globe. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=BG&p_theme=bg&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EADEE0E9E38AFE0&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  9. http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=232841

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