Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Steve Sabol: Artist and Visionary

Steve Sabol, who co-founded NFL Films with his father Ed, lost his 18 month battle with brain cancer today. When Ed Sabol was selected for induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011, Steve Sabol said, "My dad has a great expression: '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." NFL Films told the story of the NFL with heart pumping music serving as the soundtrack for a dramatic narrative--often written by Steve Sabol and read by John Facenda, the legendary "Voice of God"-- voiced over dramatic footage of the sport in all of its glory and guts and all of its passion and pride. Football became America's most popular sport in large part because of the way that NFL Films glorified the league's coaches and players and glamorized even the gritty aspects of the game. NFL football at its highest level is fast motion chess played out in real time by superb athletes who are simultaneously making predetermined moves by enacting their coaches' strategies but also--at a split second's notice--spontaneously reacting to changing circumstances, using their physical and mental gifts to improvise if/when the carefully crafted strategy breaks down. Steve Sabol both educated and entertained NFL fans and he deserves to join his father in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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