The Heart of NFL Films Is Gone

It was 18 months ago right here in Kansas City that NFL Films genius Steve Sabol suffered a seizure while attending the annual 101 Awards Banquet.

The cause of the seizure was a cancerous tumor on the left side of his brain. On Tuesday that cancer claimed Sabol’s life. He passed away at his home in suburban Philadelphia. Steve Sabol was 69 years old.

Sabol was the son of the father/son combination of Sabols that turned NFL Films into one of the greatest chroniclers of professional football and helped lead the league to its status as America’s past-time.

“We see the game as art as much as sport,” Sabol said before his father Ed was inducted into the Pro Football Hal of Fame last year. “That helped us nurture not only the game’s traditions but to develop mythology: America’s Team, The Catch, the Frozen Tundra.”

Ed Sabol is 96 years old and survives his only son.

“My dad has a great expression,” Sabol said last year. “‘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’.”

Steve Sabol is also survived by his wife Penny, son Casey and his sister Blair.

“Steve’s passion for football was matched only by his talent and energy,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “He was a major contributor to the success of the NFL, a man who changed the way we looked at football and sports, and a great friend. His legacy is assured.

“Steve was an incredible visionary. He spent 50 years at the NFL and changed the way we see pro football. So when you’re watching the games this week, it’s worth remembering just how much Steve contributed to the way we think, see, and love our game.”

2 Responses to “The Heart of NFL Films Is Gone”

  • September 18, 2012  - johnfromfairfax says:

    It’s sad to witness some of the most memorable individuals of professional football passing on. Those NFL films were special to those of us growing up in the years before cable, the internet and the telecommunications explosion fostering 24/7 coverage. They formed our image of the NFL and gave voice to the teams and characters of the game. While 69 is too young to die he will be remembered long after his passing. RIP Mr. Sabol and thanks for the memories.

  • September 18, 2012  - cychief24 says:

    Steve should be inducted in the HOF asap before his father passes. The influence on the growth on the NFL the Sabols had in immeasurable.
    My favorite of course is the Super Bowl IV film.

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