After an apprenticeship on the local newspaper his first broadcasting position was as a reporter on Middlesbrough F.C. on Radio Tees. He was a sports presenter on London's LBC Radio "Sportswatch" programme in the early 1980s before moving to BBC Radio 2's weekend sports programme Sport On 2, covering the Los Angeles and Seoul Olympic games. He later spent time as a sports newsreader at TV-am, Channel 4, Eurosport and British Satellite Broadcasting before moving to Sky in 1992 to present coverage of horse racing, snooker and darts. In 1994 Stelling became presenter of Sports Saturday, which became Soccer Saturday in 1998, hosting a programme lasting up to six hours of football discussion and live reports on the afternoon's games with a panel of pundits including Frank McLintock, Chris Kamara, Rodney Marsh and the unfortunately late George Best. Much of the programme's popularity is put down to Stelling, The Guardian praising him for "exceptional professionalism and élan and When Saturday Comes describing him as "perhaps the best sports presenter on British TV".
Stelling rarely appears on terrestrial television, despite known offers to become the face of ITV Sport, although in 2003 he won a sports presenter special edition of The Weakest Link. In 2004, Stelling was offered by the BBC to front Score — their new Saturday results service. Stelling rejected the offer and the job was given to Ray Stubbs
At the start of the 2005-06 Premiership football season, Stelling replaced Ian Payne as the host of Sky Sports' Ford Monday Night Football programme. However, Stelling's appointment coincided with a new, shorter format of the programme, with Stelling presenting the show live from the ground of that evening's game. Previously, the show had been presented from a studio, and had featured some coverage of the prior weekend's games. Moreover, in previous years on Monday nights without a live game, a "Monday Night Football Special" would be broadcast, which included only the analysis from the weekend's games. This appears to have been dropped from the 2005-06 season, indicating that Stelling's appointment is to a smaller role than that held by his predecessors.
Stelling's popularity has risen remarkably over the past two years with a solid fanbase forming. The aptly named "Jeff Stelling Appreciation Society" on Facebook has more than 11,000 members to date and is continuing to grow.
In November 2007 he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Teesside.
On 9 August 2008, when James Brown scored for Hartlepool against Colchester, Jeff played "I Feel Good" by the singer of the same name live on air. Jeff played it again 1 minute later when Brown scored again, exclaiming 'Hartlepool 2 Colchester 0. James Brown again. How sick of this are you going to be by May!?' Hartlepool went on to win 4-2.
Jeff made a brief apperance in an episode of Mike Bassett: Manager where he played himself.
Stelling often delivers one-liners if a player with a certain name appears on the vidiprinter. Examples include the following:
Middlesbrough rant On Soccer Saturday, Jeff Stelling famously had a 2 minute rant after during the week Middlesbrough had been voted the worst place to live in England. He named some of Middlesbrough's famous places and people and was cheered on by Le Tiss, Thommo, Big Mac and Nicholas. He got a reward afterwards. This rant can be viewed on Youtube
Collection of ties Jeff has a lot of ties, claiming he has 'around 100'. He has a lot of the same, including a lot of spotted or multi-coloured circled ones. He usually wears a red tie for FA Cup day.
Football: Kevan Ends Bay Drough; Victory Is Dedicated to Accident Crash Victim; UNIBOND LEAGUE Colwyn Bay 1 Kendal Town 0
Nov 22, 2004; Byline: TIM CHANNON COLWYN Bay dedicated their first win in five games to midfielder James Morton, whose father was killed in a...
THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA? Second-Half Fightback Sees off Middlesbrough as Blues Stand on Cusp of Ending Trophy Drough
Mar 09, 2009; Byline: By IAN DOYLE at Goodison Park EVERTON 2 Fellaini 50, Saha 57 MIDDLESBROUGH 1 Wheater 44 EVERTON: Howard; Jagielka, Yobo,...