Ed Sabol makes one last film


Saturday night’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony is all about history.  It’s hard to imagine a more fitting start to the night than to honor Ed Sabol, the founder of NFL Films.

Sabol only made a three minute speech.  Instead, he used his time to premiere one last film.

In that film, Sabol encapsulated what has made NFL Films so great over the years. He wrapped up football’s history in just a few short beautiful minutes, and none of the images would be available if not for NFL Films.  As always, he glorified the game — not himself.

“I dreamt the impossible dream,” Sabol said.  “I’m living it.”

Ed Sabol’s son Steve, who took over NFL Films, introduced his dad.  Steve is recovering from brain tumors, and his presence made the moment even more special.

“He was a loving father. A generous boss.  Most of all, he was the funniest man I’ve ever known,” Steve Sabol said.

Football. Film. Fathers and sons.  What a great start to Hall of Fame night.

UPDATE: Here’s Steve’s introduction.

34 responses to “Ed Sabol makes one last film

  1. First casualty of the lockout. Today would have been exciting. The HOF ceremony and the city of Canton suffer. The first game of the year. Instead it is dull. Congratulations to those inducted to the HOF. Players like you make the NFL great.

  2. Ed Sabol may be a class act, but leave the Football Hall of Fame to the players. If it wasn’t him directing all those films, it would have been someone else. Instead of inducting some great players such as Cris Carter, Drew Pearson, etc, they induct a guy who filmed the game. What’s next, are they going to induct some of the nerds that program Madden 12 or Irv Cross for years of reporting? F-ing stupid…just political correctness at it’s worse.

  3. To the Sabols, you guys rock! Speedy recovery Steve. You guys means more to the game than most realize, or care to admit.

  4. First of all, I just hope to make it to 94. If I do, I hope I am half as feisty and sharp as Ed Sabol. What a great feature NFL Network ran on him earlier in the week – he looked like he could have snapped tree trunks with his hands back in the day.

    It was great to see Steve Sabol up there as well. Aside from the hair loss, which is to be expected, I thought he looked really good, much better than I was expecting given the treatment he has had to receive.

  5. I just what to say is thank you for bringing the games into all the homes all over the world without you i would not be able to watch and you are a big part of the NFL once again thank you

  6. Football just wouldn’t be football without the Sabols. I’m not sure anyone has ever had a bigger impact on the sport outside of pads and a helmet.

  7. The NFL should be ashamed. Since the advent of the NFL channel NFL films has been cut down.

    They no longer make product as the NFL channel thinks its better for ratings to show 17 reruns of a show that is just a carbon copy of another channels show. I guess thats what you get when you hire a guy from the other channel. They don’t do anymore “produced” “Game of the Week” type shows. They have been replaced with cut down versions of TV broadcasts.

    I think its very disengenuious for the NFL to be putting Ed Sabol in the hall of fame. They do so at the same time they are cutting funding to his great group of folks who reinvent how people think of sports. NFL films along with MNF were the 2 biggest reason the NFL is what it is today.

    But instead of thinking long term and understanding that yeah you lose a little bit of money making these great programs but later on you gains millions of fans who spend 100 times what you lose in the short term. This “NEw American” bottom line think is bringing the entire country down but it is also bringing down what IMO was a pillar of the NFL. NFL films is the reason i love football. When i was child i remmeber watching “game of the week” and the superbowl wrap ups they ran. I loved the story of the season programs that will soon be gone all together. In place of first run programing that told the story of an NFL game or season, that let fans in on all the drama inside the game will be replaced with reruns of a show that is a copy of another programs show done with less talent. Either that or the complete rebroadcast of games that have been edited down. No more classic shots, no more great voice overs, no more wonder sideline coversations.

    I am very happy Mr. Sabol has made it into the hall. He deserved it 25 years ago. But i am sad they are putting him in there because they know they destroying his invention.

  8. This game would be nowhere near as popular without Ed and Steve Sabol. And I don’t hear them arguing about their slice of the pie.

  9. Really thankful Big Ed lived long enough to appreciate his enshrinement.

    Ed Sabol has enriched the NFL experience in a way that would have seemed unimaginable 50 years ago.

    So many uniquely creative ideas and angles. That guy who said something to the effect, “someone would have done it anyway” really misses the mark.

    Can’t go into them all, but will rest with these three.

    First, Sabol selected Sam Spence on music. Absolutely legendary call there.

    Secondly, Sabol hand-picked John Facenda. Wow. What else needs to be stated there?

    Finally, he raised his boy Steve to share the same passion he had for enriching the NFL for themselves and us.

    Pretty damned impressive legacy – much props.

  10. Great film…great intro….

    I hope these greedy clowns of today take time to thank this man and his son for making them kajillionaires…….without NFL films, the NFL is just another sport – now it’s an empire…..

  11. Unparalled Kudos to Ed Sabol and his son – Steve – “Sudden Death” – Sabol – aka – the “Possom from Hotten Trot”. And you can look it up. 🙂

    When I went to the AF Academy in the mid 60’s – there was this guy getting pub at this tiny little school – a little NAIA All-American Fullback – at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

    Since we had a good – Division 1 program – we Zoomies all used to laugh at it. And “Sudden Death” – was none other than Steve Sabol – promoting himself – and learning PR/hype lessons to later be the great engine of NFL Films.

  12. Certainly didn’t expect to see Ed making one more film. What an epic night in Canton. Fans deserved a special night after the last 4 months.

    No HOF game is a travesty, however. A nasty scar from the lockout.

  13. According to all you idiots on here, if the Sabols were more intersted in some crappy ass sport like Soccer or the NBA, then the NFL would just be an afterthought…give me a break.

  14. @steelerhypocrite
    who pissed in your Cheerios today? The HOF is for great players, owners, announcers and FILM people. Just like the Baseball HOF. Sabol had a profound impact on the growth of the popularity of the league. If you can’t see that, you’re one dumb SOB.

  15. birddawg581 says:
    Aug 6, 2011 8:10 PM
    First casualty of the lockout. Today would have been exciting. The HOF ceremony and the city of Canton suffer. The first game of the year. Instead it is dull. Congratulations to those inducted to the HOF. Players like you make the NFL great.


    As an avid NFL fan— I never once watched the HOF game. Don’t miss it. Congrats to the NFL players and owners for getting this CBA done without any significant “casualties”. The NHL had to sacrifice an entire season. MLB sacrified half a season including playoffs (and they still suffer from economic imbalance). NBA negotiations could get ugly this year. The NFL once again stands out as the best pro sports league. I don’t understand how and why people keep whining about the CBA talks when they got the thing done and the fans didn’t miss a thing. (except the crappy HOF game).

  16. I was heading out the door with my 9 year old today to throw the football for some home backyard pratice for his first year in pads. And what has become second nature for so many of us I could not help but start humming out loud my best impersonation of some of my favorite classic NFL films music. the perfect compliment to the best game on the planet.

  17. baldeaglejohnie says:
    Aug 6, 2011 11:00 PM
    I was heading out the door with my 9 year old today to throw the football for some home backyard pratice for his first year in pads. And what has become second nature for so many of us I could not help but start humming out loud my best impersonation of some of my favorite classic NFL films music. the perfect compliment to the best game on the planet.

    I have the NFL Films song, The Linemen, on my Ipod. My little ones know that song – and other songs from NFL Films – because they are played in epiosodes of Sponge Bob. I taught them that when this song is being played, we must do everything in slow motion because that’s what they do in NFL Films……we laugh the whole time and have a great memory to keep in our hearts…..

  18. So thankful Ed was able to have his day and Steve was able to share it with him. Congratulations on a much-deserved induction. Everyone who loves the game is grateful for the contribution of NFL Films. And I think many of us secretly imagine our best moments being narrated by John Facenda.

  19. steelerhypocrite you are acting like a fool. A true steeler fan.

    The Sabol family and what they did for the NFL, is a greater contribution than any single player who played the game. This family gave us an artfully documented historical record of the NFL and brought attention to this sport world wide.

    They are very import to the NFL and deserve to be part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s not the Football players hall of fame.

  20. One Sabol in, one to go. Steve absolutely deserves inclusion into the HOF. A great player is a great player but no one single player has had the effect on the NFL as a whole as the Sabols and NFL Films. The footage, the sound, the music, and the pure gold of the late John Facenda’s voice. Big Ed, thanks for all the great memories growing up. Steve, god bless and get well soon.

  21. First off, Sabol’s last film….goosebumps. I actually had some on both of my legs which I’ve never had happen before. He should be like Larry King and just do one film a year for now on because he’s still got it.

    But the one thing I want to say, especially to the person who said that if Sabol hadn’t of done this someone else would have, is the fact that nobody else was able to do what he did. Baseball tried. They tried valiantly in fact. But they were never able to capture the genie in the bottle like the Sabols did. Without the Sabols I’m just a New Orleans Saints fan. With them? I’m a fan of the game. THAT is why he’s in the Hall. We aren’t as team centric as other sports. We appreciate a good game regardless of who is playing. Heck, we’ll even watch crappy games if they are the only ones on. He made us all love the game as much as he did. He made it bigger, more glamorous.

    If there should be any anger this year at Sabol being inducted into the Hall it shouldn’t be that they put him in. Its that they should have put him in before now.

  22. I’d like to echo andyreidisfat’s comments. As someone who once worked for NFL Films, it’s a tragedy to see what the NFL Network and by association the NFL is doing to this once-great company. Everything that was special about NFL Films – everything that kept us watching and inspired the loyalty and work ethic of its employees is being wiped away.

    I’m glad for Ed Sabol and his family. He deserves this honor more than anyone I can think of who didn’t play the game. His work helped make great players into the legends that he now shares the Hall of Fame with.

  23. Love this guy and Steve deserves to go in next. Make that happen between lattes Mr. King.

    “Ten ton of muscle with a one track mind”. Priceless.

  24. Would like to watch it, but the lame nfl.com has already removed the videos after saying on their broadcast to watch it online. They must be finding a way to charge us.

  25. steelerhypocrite, you couldn’t leave it at one moronic post. no, you had to come back just to leave no doubt about your total lack of brains

  26. Steve Sabol: “He was a loving father. A generous boss. Most of all, he was the funniest man I’ve ever known.”

    *Was* a loving father? *Was* the funniest man he’s ever known.

    Slow down, Steve. Your dad’s not dead yet. Jeez.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!