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"I’ve got to be a jump ahead. I like to do things on reaction. I don’t like to wait and think. If you do that you’re always late.”
Bobby Bell ... All-state prep quarterback, All-American tackle at Minnesota ... Big early prize in AFL-NFL war ... All-AFL/AFC nine times ... All-time AFL choice, 1969 ... Extremely versatile, determined, rugged, fast, smart ... Played in last six AFL All-Star games, first three AFC-NFC Pro Bowls ... Scored nine career touchdowns, one on onside kickoff return, two on fumble returns ... Had 26 interceptions for 479 yards, six TDs ... Born June 17, 1940, in Shelby, North Carolina.
Bobby Bell was the most highly honored college lineman of the 1962 season. His coach at the University of Minnesota described the two-time All-America choice and Outland Trophy winner as “the greatest lineman I have ever seen.”
It’s hard to believe the versatile 6-4, 228-pound Bell actually began his college career as a quarterback. The Kansas City Chiefs of the then-young American Football League were so convinced that Bell would sign with the Minnesota Vikings of the rival National Football League that they didn’t even bother selecting him until the seventh round of the 1963 draft. The University of Minnesota star stunned the pro football world when he opted to sign with the Chiefs. Bell began his 12-year career with Kansas City as a defensive end.
He excelled in coach Hank Stram’s “stack defense,” which called for him to drop out of the 4-3 alignment and become a fourth linebacker. In 1965, after winning all-league honors as a defensive end the previous season, Bell was shifted to outside linebacker. His size and speed made him ideal for the position. As a linebacker he was named All-AFL or All-NFL every year from 1965 through 1971.
During his career, the versatile Bell intercepted 26 passes, returning six for touchdowns. He also scored on an onside kick and two fumble recoveries. Built in the shape of an inverted pyramid with massive shoulders tapering down to a 32-inch waist, Bobby presented a fearsome appearance on the field. He had the physique to withstand as well as deal out punishment. What made him stand out from the crowd was his superior approach to the game, a willingness to play anywhere even when injured and his great joy at just playing the game. Bell was the first Kansas City Chiefs player to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1966 AFL – Kansas City Chiefs 31, Buffalo Bills 7
Bell started at outside linebacker for the Chiefs. No other statistical data is available.
1969 AFL – Kansas City Chiefs 17, Oakland Raiders 7
Bell started at outside linebacker for the Chiefs. He recorded eight tackles and one assist and one pass defensed.
Super Bowl I – Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10
Bell started at outside linebacker for the Chiefs. He registered seven tackles and one assist.
Super Bowl IV – Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota 7
Bell started at outside linebacker for the Chiefs. He recorded one tackles and two assists.
All-Pro Team: 1969 (HOF, PFWA, NEA)
All-AFL: 1964 (UPI) • 1965 (AP, UPI, OL, NEA, NY) • 1966 (AP, UPI, OL, NEA, NY) • 1967 (AP, UPI, SN, NY) • 1968 (AP, UPI, NEA, NY, SN, PW) • 1969 (AP, UPI, NEA, SN, NY, PW)
All-AFL Second Team: 1964 (AP, OL, NEA, NY) • 1967 (NEA)
All-NFL: 1970 (AP, PFWA, NEA, PW) • 1971 (PW)
All-NFL Second Team: 1971 (PFWA, NEA)
All-AFC: 1970 (AP, UPI, SN, PW) • 1971 (AP, UPI, SN PW) • 1972 (SN)
(9) – 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973
• [1st] Most Defensive Touchdowns, Career – 8 (1963-1974)
• [1st] Most Opponents' Fumble Recoveries, Career – 15 (1963-1974)
• [1st] Most Interceptions Return Touchdowns, Career – 6 (1963-1974)
• [2nd] Most Consecutive Games Played, Career – 168 (1963-1974)
• [Tied for 3rd] Most Seasons –12
Full Name: Bobby Lee Bell, Jr.
Birthdate: June 17, 1940
Birthplace: Shelby, North Carolina
High School: Cleveland (Shelby, NC)
Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 29, 1983
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: July 30, 1983
Presenter: Hank Stram, Bell's Head Coach with Chiefs
Other Members of Class of 1983: Sid Gillman, Sonny Jurgensen, Bobby Mitchell, Paul Warfield
Pro Career: 12 seasons, 168 games
Drafted: 7th round (56th overall) in 1963 by Dallas Texans, AFL
Uniform Number: 78