The Legend Revealed

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Bobby Bell will forever go down as one of the best defensive linemen in college football, and after being inducted into both the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame, you might be surprised as to what he considers his most impressive accomplishment. 

Last year on New Year’s Day, the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame honored defensive super star Bobby Bell, the two-time All-American from the University of Minnesota. Bell was already enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, The Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame…you get the point.

On a recent All Big-10 Alaska cruise, University of Minnesota Professor Emeritus Earl Scott finally got to meet the legendary Golden Gopher for the first time. Scott had joined the Minnesota faculty in 1971, nine years after Bell had left to join the Kansas City Chiefs, but for years Scott continued to hear and read about the star’s amazing career.

After spending a few days in his company and getting to know him, Scott recalls that Bobby Bell still has an athlete’s sense of humor. “Bobby called himself a magnanimous player,” Scott writes. “He says he would knock an opponent down and then pick him up so he could knock him down again!”

Playing mostly as defensive tackle, Bell won the 1962 Outland Award–marking him as the nation’s top interior lineman. He led the Golden Gophers to a 22-6-1 record over two seasons, and was third in voting for the Heisman Trophy. In his spare time he became the first African American to play basketball at Minnesota.

For the next twelve seasons, Bobby Bell headlined as the Kansas City Chiefs’ most dominating defensive end/linebacker. In the American Football League Bell earned All-Star honors six straight times, and after the merger in 1970, he played in the next three Pro Bowl games. He was the first Chiefs player ever elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

(Pioneer Press: John Autey)

Earl Scott understands why Bell is most proud of one particular honor–one that stands out in his long list of accomplishments. At age 74, 53 years after leaving the University of Minnesota for the pros, Bell went back to the University to earn his degree and graduate in 2015.

At dinner, as the Alaska cruise was ending, Scott stood up and proposed a toast to the superstar, “Here’s to Bobby Bell, a Legend Revealed!”

It’s hard to believe that the Rose Bowl committee waited until 2016 to honor Bobby Bell’s exploits for the Gophers in the 1961 and 1962 Rose Bowl games. Minnesota lost in 1961 and beat UCLA 21-3 in 1962.


About Samuel H. Johnson

As a student at Miami University (Ohio) I spent a lot of time at the campus radio station WRMU and the FM outlet, WMUB. After graduation, I worked at various radio and TV Stations in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC. I was a DJ, sports reporter, and on-air public affairs host/producer, winning three local Emmy awards. Along the way, I appeared in three major movies: G.I. Jane, CONTACT, and Runaway Bride. Today I live in Phoenix, Arizona with my wife, Laraine, and our two daughters, who live nearby. I enjoy writing about sports–mostly my own off-beat and sometimes humorous observations. I also like to write about history. I’ve written several books, including The Cherokee and the Slave. My favorite athletes (current) are Larry Fitzgerald, Ben Roethlisberger, Kawhi Leonard, and Roger Federer; (future) are Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis, and Paul Watson; and (past) Lenny Moore, Sonny Jurgensen, Bobby Mitchell, Charley Taylor, Steve Nash, Johnny Unitas, Charlie Joiner, Marques Haynes, Elgin Baylor, Dr. “J”. My unsung star is Bob Boyd, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver, 1950-57, and winner of the 100-yard dash at the 1950 NCAA Championships.

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Comments (The Legend Revealed)

    Ramona Omer wrote (09/26/17 - 9:45:18AM)

    It’s great to get a snapshot of an athlete’s life off the field. My morning schedule is tight. This article went well with my morning cup of coffee. Thanks