The football world said goodbye to a legend of the sport Tuesday. Steve Sabol, President of NFL Films, died of brain cancer just weeks away from 70th birthday.
Sabol took over the mantle of NFL Films from his father Ed, who founded the company. Steve learned in March of 2011 that he had a brain tumor that couldn't be removed. Steve introduced his father during Ed's emotional enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August of 2011.
Generations of NFL fans learned to love the game of football through the lens of Ed and Steve Sabol. Steve started out as a cameraman before eventually running company.
"We all realized pretty quickly that Steve was the force behind what we were doing here," the NFL Films' head of cinematography Hank McElwee said this year. "The pictures. Big Ed had the idea and he sold the owners on it, but when it came to the actual vision of this company, without a doubt it was Steve. Steve saw things in a unique way that every network is copying right now."
Steve Sabol won more than 40 Emmy awards and oversaw 107 Emmys for NFL Films. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. The company broke ground as the first to wire players and coaches for sound. It revolutionized how music was used with sports films. It was the first to use ground-level slow motion and montage editing in sports. So much of what we see in sports television came directly from the Sabol. He was both an artist and an executive.
NFL Films was a family company in the truest sense. That's why it feels like the NFL is losing a member of its family today. Sabol and his father spent their lives glorifying the game above all.
"My dad has a great expression," Sabol said when his father's induction was announced. "Tell me a fact, and I'll learn. Tell me a truth and I'll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever. And now my dad's story will be in Canton and hopefully that will live forever too."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun