Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films and the man who revolutionized the way sporting events are covered on television in America, has died from brain cancer at the age of 69.
In the early 1960s, Steve joined his father, Ed Sabol, as the driving force behind a new style of looking at the sport of football that elevated the players and their clashes on the gridiron to mythical heights. Working as a cameraman, editor, writer, director, and producer for NFL Films, Sabol emphasized the human drama and emotion of the weekly showdowns and brought TV viewers closer to the titans of the game than they had ever been before.
His passion for the game was nurtured while playing football at Colorado College and he became the creative genius that changed the way Americans looked at sports. Paired with the authoritative narration of John Facenda, the NFL Films segments became an instantly recognizable institution during football broadcasts with on-the-field views and sounds.
They were the first company to outfit players and coaches with small microphones to authentically capture their reactions, and revolutionized the mixing of music in sports footage. They were also the first to use ground-level slow motion and montage editing in sports. Many credit Sabol's innovations for football overtaking baseball as America's favorite pastime in recent decades.
Over his 50-year career, Sabol won in excess of 40 Emmy Awards and oversaw 107 Emmys for NFL Films, and in 2003 was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. It's fair to say that without Steve Sabol, televised sports would look drastically different.
The family has requested that any donations be sent to the Jefferson Foundation for Brain Tumor Research, c/o Lindsey Walker, 925 Chestnut Street, Suite 110, Philadelphia, PA 19107.