NFL Films and ultimately the NFL lost so much when NFL Films President Steve Sabol passed away at the age of 69 after a long battle with brain cancer on Tuesday.
It’s clear that football is losing a man who loved the game and put in the time and resources to show football to a mass audience in a way that hadn’t been seen before.
Sabol and his father Ed were running a film production company called Blair Motion Pictures in 1962 when the NFL came calling. Blair Motion Pictures won the rights to film the NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants.
The NFL was happy with the footage and purchased Blair Motion Pictures, which soon became NFL Films.
The Sabol’s were joined by Philadelphia broadcaster John Facenda and former music teacher Sam Spence.
NFL Films did and still does Yearbooks for every team, from Super Bowl Champions to 1-15 teams.
Sabol is perhaps best known to the younger generations for hosting NFL Films-related programming on ESPN, as well as the NFL Network. On many occasions, I recall seeing Sabol hosting NFL Films Presents, which covered series topics, as well as some offbeats. And yes, who can forget the Football Follies series, which used the talents of Mel Blanc.
Interestingly enough, Sabol was profiled by Sports Illustrated when he was a running back at Colorado College. Sabol was an all-conference fullback at the school, located in Colorado Springs.
Sabol leaves behind an incredible legacy, including countless Emmy Awards just from the success of NFL Films. I don’t know that we will have another Steve Sabol. With all that the father and son’s efforts have brought to football and really all sports, it would be very hard to top the accomplishments. Steve Sabol will forever be synonymous with NFL Films.
Ed Sabol Was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Don’t be surprised if Steve has his bust in Canton in the next few years.