PHILADELPHIA BELL

  • The Philadelphia Bell was a franchise in the World Football League (WFL), which operated in 1974 and a portion of a season in 1975. The Bell played their home games at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. The team logo was a representation of the Liberty Bell.
  • At first the team seemed to be one of the WFL’s most popular teams. They announced a crowd of 55,534 for the home opener, and 64,719 for the second home game. However, when the Bell paid city taxes on the attendance figures two weeks later, it emerged that they had inflated the gate on a scale almost unprecedented in professional sports. As it turned out, the Bell sold block tickets to several area businesses at a discount, and the tax revenue was not reported. In turn, these businesses either gave away the tickets for free or sold them at well below listed prices. The actual paid attendance for the home opener was only 13,855, while the paid attendance for the second game was only 6,200. The “Papergate” scandal, as it was dubbed by the press, made the Bell and the WFL look foolish, and proved to be a humiliation from which neither recovered.
  • Vince Papale, the inspiration for the 2006 film Invincible, played wide receiver for the Bells for two seasons prior to his two years with the Philadelphia Eagles.