Steve Sabol died earlier today at the age of 69, two weeks before his 70th birthday and 18 months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Sabol, as the longtime President of NFL Films, was a key part in how the players were no longer portrayed as brute athletes, but rather artists practicing their craft on the gridiron. The slow-motion shots, the iconic tight focus on the spiral, the "Voice of God," the epic background music made every game look like a battle, a scene from an opera. NFL Films also showed the human side of players; everybody makes mistakes and the Football Follies series helped portray NFL players, even with all their prodigious talent, are as prone to mistakes on the gridiron as your next door neighbors. The Ice Bowl, Hank Stram and 65 Toss Power Trap, the Immaculate Reception, "Old Man Willie," the Holy Roller, Marcus Allen's epic run, "The Drive," "Montana's Drive," and the legendary John Candy anecdote, Wide Right and so many more classic moments all remembered in history in an even greater way, thanks to NFL Films.
When I was in elementary school, there was a channel, must have been like 705, that showed NFL Films all the time. And every day, as soon as I would get up, I would turn on that channel and would watch. Usually it was Football Follies or some other production (I particularly remember fondly the production of the Bills' legendary comeback after the Oilers in the 1993 NFL playoffs hosted by Paul Maguire). There was nothing I loved to watch everyday than these old NFL clips, it helped turn me into an NFL history buff and I was sucked in for life. Whenever Sabol would come on the screen to introduce another great NFL Films program, I was glued to the television.
NFL Films founder Ed Sabol was inducted in the Hall of Fame a year ago and Steve Sabol will join him in Canton soon. One cannot describe the role that the Sabols have played in NFL history.
Stephen Douglas "Steve" Sabol - October 2, 1942-September 18, 2012
Odd game in Foxborough. The Cardinals hold the Patriots in check all game, keep them out of the end zone until less than four minutes left and prevent New England from tying by snuffing out the two point conversion. All Arizona has to do is run the clock out and not fumble, but don't tell that to Ryan Williams, who fumbles on third and long, giving New England the football. But the Patriots' last chance was blown by Stephen Gostkowski missing the winning field goal, giving the win to the Cardinals, 20-18. Robert Kraft took to it well.