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Publisher's Summary

Upton Bell grew up at the knee of the NFL's first great commissioner, his father, the legendary Bert Bell, who not only saved the game from financial ruin after World War II but was one of its greatest innovators. Present at the Creation details Bell’s firsthand experiences, which started as he watched his father draw up the league schedule each year at the kitchen table using dominoes. Over the past 53 years, Bell has been an owner, a general manager, a personnel executive, a scouting director for two Super Bowl teams, a television commentator and analyst, and a talk-radio host. He has seen the NFL from the inside and has experienced many of the most important moments in NFL history.

Bell was player personnel director for the Baltimore Colts when the team played in three championship games and appeared in two Super Bowls (1968 and 1970). At thirty-three, he became the youngest general manager in NFL history when he joined the Patriots in that role in 1971. He left the NFL in 1974 to compete against it, joining the upstart World Football League as owner of the Charlotte Hornets, which lasted just two years. In 1976 Bell began his 40-year career as a radio and TV talk-show host, yet he remains a football guy who was in the middle of the game’s most significant moments and knows that half the story has never been told, until now.

The book is published by University of Nebraska Press.

“A must-read for any fan of pro football.” (Ernie Accorsi, former general manager of the New York Giants)

©2017 Upton Bell and Ron Borges (P)2018 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A highly enjoyable book that should be on every football fan's reading list." (Library Journal)

“This is an extraordinary life story of a unique individual. The epilogue alone is worth the price of the book.” (Bob Ryan, Boston Globe sportswriter, recipient of the Curt Gowdy Media Award)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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For more than Football fans.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. I have a lot of friends who are football fans.

What other book might you compare Present at the Creation to and why?

Can't think of any book that compares.

This is a riveting story, even if you are not a big football fan. My wife listened with me on a long car trip and enjoyed it just for the human interest stories and the “what it was like” back then narratives. Bell relates the story of a man who grew up with the NFL. His father was the very first Commissioner of the NFL and he became a part of a number of teams as a box office person, a scout and finally General Manager of the Patriots.

What about James Killavey’s performance did you like?

Reading was good...slight New England accent, but that fit and it was not overdone

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

First chapter.

Any additional comments?

Overall I give it five stars all around. Oh...and I was very interested to see who Bell picked as the best quarterback ever. Hint – it was not Brady!

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This Man Knows Football

Would you listen to Present at the Creation again? Why?

Yes, but not for a while. The Epilogue maybe sooner. Lots of interesting tidbits there.

Have you listened to any of James Killavey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. One of my favorite narrators.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The description of his Father's death while watching his favorite team, the Eagles, in the same stadium where he was a star college quarterback Powerful stuff.

Any additional comments?

Got to see Football from a whole different angle. Not just on the field, but in the locker room, in their houses and in the meeting rooms.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J
  • 02-06-18

Nothing beats first hand

If you could sum up Present at the Creation in three words, what would they be?

Enthralling, amusing, insightful

What does James Killavey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He was fine.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Present at the Creation.

Any additional comments?

I finished this 15 hr book in three days, which is a record for me. I just hated to stop listening. Bell was intimately involved with the NFL and a number of teams from his earliest days. He even had his bedroom next to the of some Eagles players at the training camp one year when he was 12. His father let the team sleep in his house! Anyhow, if you care about NFL football at all, you will enjoy this. Even if you don't, it's a very good human interest story. Five stars all around.,

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Must read

If you could sum up Present at the Creation in three words, what would they be?

High Interest insightful

What was one of the most memorable moments of Present at the Creation?

More than just one

What does James Killavey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Did a good job, esp with pronouncing some difficult names.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both

Any additional comments?

Great book.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book

Would you listen to Present at the Creation again? Why?

Might do it again next year. It was a good lead up to Super Bowl Sunday.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Present at the Creation?

The whole chapter on Jet vs. Colts in Super Bowl III. Lots of inside info I never knew about.

What about James Killavey’s performance did you like?

Interesting that the narrator ( or someone with the same name ) rated his own reading in a review as "Good." That's confidence, I guess and why not? He is good.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The first chapter is a bit of a tear-jerker but it certainly grabs your attention.

Any additional comments?

For anyone looking to get insight from an insider about Football from the early days to the present, this is the book. I suspect Borges did most of the writing and Bell just told him info. Again, that's fine. Borges is an excellent writer and Bell a good talk show host in his last career move. To each his own.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Riveting stuff

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Because it's much more than just a sports book.

What about James Killavey’s performance did you like?

Good reading.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both in various sections.

Any additional comments?

I decided to get this after reading the quote from Bob Ryan, one of my favorite sportswriters."This is an extraordinary life story of a unique individual. The epilogue alone is worth the price of the book.” He was right. It is an extraordinary book. Not sure if the epilogue alone was worth the price of the book but it certainly was different..and fascinating.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Glenn
  • Assonet, MA, USA
  • 02-08-18

Very good

Where does Present at the Creation rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In top 5

What did you like best about this story?

Inside info by an insider.

Have you listened to any of James Killavey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. Did his job.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No..too long.

Any additional comments?

Well done. Never lost interest.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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For both football and history buffs.

If you could sum up Present at the Creation in three words, what would they be?

Interesting, historical, he-was-there

What was one of the most memorable moments of Present at the Creation?

Very first chapter...just pulls you in.

Have you listened to any of James Killavey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yup..One of my favorite narrators. Good job, as usual.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both actually...a number of times.

Any additional comments?

Fascinating look at the NFL from the beginning from someone who lived through it.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful