NFL mourns death of NFL Films President Steve Sabol, son of OSU athlete Ed Sabol
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 22:09
Steve Sabol, the former president of NFL Films and a man rooted to Ohio State, died from brain cancer Tuesday, according to multiple reports. He was 69.
As president of New Jersey-based NFL Films, Sabol oversaw the application of various cinematic techniques to capturing professional football, such as slow-motion photography and microphones attached to players and coaches. Dramatic musical scores accompanied video of game action in many NFL Films productions.
Sabol is survived by his wife, Penny, son, Casey, and sister, Blair, Both of his parents, Audrey and Ed, also survive NFL Film’s former leading man. Ed Sabol, an OSU graduate and former member of the Buckeyes men’s swimming program, was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 6, 2011. Steve Sabol presented his father during the Hall of Fame ceremony with an introductory speech.
Steve Sabol played a direct hand in the creation of the Aug. 2, 2011, Wexner Center event entitled “A Tribute to Ed Sabol and NFL Films.”
Shelly Poe, former sports information director for OSU football and now the associate athletic director for media relations at Auburn, told The Lantern that Steve Sabol planned to return to OSU for the Wexner Center event but eventually declined to attend. Poe told The Lantern that Steve Sabol and his personal staff were accommodating in helping put the event together despite the cancer diagnosis he was living with at the time. Steve Sabol received the diagnosis in March 2011, according to a Tuesday Wall Street Journal report.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called Steve Sabol the “creative genius behind NFL Films” in a Tuesday email to league personnel.
“Steve’s passion for football was matched only by his talent and energy,” Goodell said in the email. “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.”
Ed Sabol was contracted to shoot the 1962 NFL Championship game, which was the first event filmed by the league’s in-house production company. Steve Sabol was a photographer during the game and continued work with NFL Films during the next 50 years, according to NFL.com.