Blyth, Northumberland born centre forward Jack Cowell began his football career playing in north east junior football with Springwell in 1902, Rowlands Gill in 1903 and Spen Black & White in 1904. He joined Castleford Town in 1905, and played for Selby Mizpah in 1906 before joining Rotherham Town in 1907, where he made his senior football debut in a 1-0 FA Cup First Round defeat to West Ham United at Upton Park in January 1908. He was then signed by First Division club Bristol City, making his Football League debut against Manchester City in April 1909, his only appearance of the season.
Breaking into The Robins’ first team in September 1909, he comfortably top scored for Bristol City in 1909-10 with 20 goals from 32 matches during the campaign, a total which included a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Middlesbrough the same month and all 4 goals in a 4-0 victory over Nottingham Forest in April 1910. He had played 5 matches for The Robins the next season when he was signed by Sunderland in October 1910, scoring on his debut in a 3-3 draw at Manchester City, but he lost his place at the start of February 1911 after 6 goals in 14 appearances for The Wearsiders, joining Irish League club Belfast Distillery in the 1911 close season.
While with Distillery he represented The Irish League in a defeat to The Southern League at Windsor Park, Belfast in September 1911 before joining Belfast Celtic in 1912. He represented The Irish League twice more in 1913, both fixtures again being against The Southern League, but his career was then interrupted by the First World War. After the War he had a spell with North Eastern League club Durham City in 1919 before his retirement.