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On Any Given Sunday

This article is more than 9 years old.

On Any Given Sunday by Robert S. Lyons
On Any Given Sunday by Robert S. Lyons
Given (on Sunday or any other day) what a colossus the National Football League is today, it’s hard to believe that when it began, pro football was a week-to-week proposition in which most of the owners struggled to meet payroll.

One of those owners was Bert Bell, who began running the Philadelphia Eagles in 1933. When his players complained that they couldn’t afford to live on what he was paying them, Bell invited them to sleep on the floor at his house. To the delight of Bell’s two young sons, lots of the players accepted the invitation.

Bell became Commissioner of the NFL in 1946. He’s credited with coming up with the phrase “On Any Given Sunday, any team can beat any other team.” This had not been true of Bell’s Eagles. They almost always lost, in part because Bell had named himself coach of the team and he wasn’t very good at it. But he was good at holding the league together, and he saw it grow from a joke into a phenomenon.

On Any Given Sunday provides lots of stories about the days when Bert Bell had to get special permission for his team to even play on Sunday…when college football drew ten times the fans the pros drew…when nobody could have imagined the partnership between the NFL and network television that would eventually change the landscape of sports in the United States.

This program aired on December 16, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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