He may have never taken the field as a pro player, but Steve Sabol has done more than most anyone to make the NFL the force it is today. A brilliant storyteller, Sabol didn't just create highlight reels, he created a moving tribute to all those who ever went to battle on the professional gridiron. Under his leadership, NFL Films introduced super slow-motion video techniques, wireless microphones on players, dramatic music, locker room speeches, and a narrative voice synonomous with NFL Films to revoloutionize the way we saw the game.
''We see the game as art as much as sport,'' Steve Sabol told The Associated Press prior to his father Ed's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year. ''That helped us nurture not only the game's traditions but to develop its mythology: America's Team, The Catch, The Frozen Tundra.'' In his illustrious career, Steve Sabol received 35 Emmys for a variety of categories, including cinematography, writing, editing, directing and producing.
Since his passing September 18 at the age of 69 from a long bout with brain cancer, praise has been pouring in for the man who revolutionized sports broadcasting.
''Steve Sabol was the creative genius behind the remarkable work of NFL Films,'' NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement from the league confirming Sabol's death. ''Steve's passion for football was matched by his incredible talent and energy. Steve's legacy will be part of the NFL forever. He was a major contributor to the success of the NFL, a man who changed the way we look at football and sports, and a great friend.''
Owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, told the NFL Network that part of the inspiration for the giant digital scoreboard at Cowboys Stadium was a result of Sabol’s innovations over the years. “I really believe Steve was put on earth to do this job and be a part of what he contributed to the NFL,” Jones said. “I honestly don’t know of anyone who loved, understood or appreciated the NFL more than Steve did. He was one of the greatest storytellers of our time, not just in sports but in any part of the American society."
''Steve Sabol leaves a lasting impact on the National Football League that will be felt for a long time to come,'' NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said. ''His vision and innovation helped make him a pioneer the likes of which the NFL has never seen before and won't see again.''
Here are just a few clips from the arsenal of Steve Sabol's memorable NFL Films.