NFL remembers Steve Sabol

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NFL Films President Steve Sabol died today at the age of 69, and there’s been an outpouring of fond memories of Sabol and his work from all corners of the NFL. We collect some of those memories below.

Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Winston: “My favorite player of all time is Dick Butkus and its all because of Steve Sabol. I got to see Butkus as a kid playing from a time that had passed. Thank you Steve. RIP.”

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez: “RIP Steve Sabol. I remember growing up watching NFL films. That’s where my love for the game started. Thank you.”

Colts owner Jim Irsay: “With the passing of Steve Sabol, this is a sad day for football fans everywhere. As someone who grew up watching NFL Films creations, I can attest to Steve’s vision and contribution to the incredible popularity of this sport. His, along with his father, Ed’s, creativity and passion for the game cultivated many, many avid fans. On behalf of the entire Colts organization I send our sympathy to the Sabol family and his colleagues at NFL Films.”

Former NFL safety Brian Dawkins: “R.I.P. to Steve Sabol. You can’t love the NFL without being a fan of his work!”

Chiefs owner Clark Hunt: “Today, the Chiefs family and the entire National Football League mourn the loss of Steve Sabol – a dear friend, a true visionary and one of pro football’s biggest fans. We are deeply saddened by Steve’s passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Sabol family in this extremely difficult time. With his limitless passion and unparalleled ability as a storyteller, Steve captured the essence and emotion of our sport, and it was through his eyes and through his lens that we watched pro football become America’s game. Steve and his father, Ed, chronicled and immortalized pro football’s greatest moments, including the iconic footage of Hank Stram from Super Bowl IV. Steve’s artistry as a filmmaker gave an unforgettable, cinematic history of the NFL to an entire generation of fans. But beyond his tremendous contributions to the game, Steve was a remarkable man and a cherished friend who will be greatly missed by our family and all who were blessed to know him.”

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson: “Praying for family and friends of Steve Sabol, president of @NFLfilms You were an amazing difference maker! You will be missed.”

Steelers owner Art Rooney II: “Steve Sabol was a dear friend to the Rooney Family and he will be missed by the entire NFL community. The impact that Steve Sabol and his father Ed have had on the NFL in creating and growing NFL Films will continue to be enjoyed for years to come by NFL fans everywhere. He was a genius in his work, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family.”

Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders: “I am greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Sabol. I would like to send my most heartfelt condolences to the Sabol family.”

Redskins owner Dan Snyder: “Steve Sabol, along with his Hall of Fame father, Ed, introduced the world to the great game of football by capturing every essence of the players, coaches and fans. Everyone has benefitted from Steve and NFL Films’ contribution to the game and we are forever grateful. Steve was the voice of the NFL and his shoes are impossible to fill. Our love, thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie: “Steve Sabol was one of the most influential and innovative people in the NFL community. Football benefitted so much from his unique vision and incredible ability to bring fans closer to the action. He was also a joy to be around, an endless source of energy and ideas. All of us at the Eagles will miss him, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Robert Alberino, Vice President, Media and Marketing, 65 Toss Power Trap Productions: “Turning the average into the incredible was what Films did. From the days of being a young fan to the days of being a dad of three, NFL Films still holds in my heart a place that can’t be touched. Story telling at its finest. Cinematography beyond words. The marriage of sport and script – the concept so simple, the execution so divine. It is why I do what I do.”

The Detroit Lions: “Our game will forever be indebted to Steve for his contribution to the National Football League. Thanks to Steve’s leadership and vision, NFL Films had a profoundly positive impact on the popularity of our game and will always be a significant part of our history. Nothing brought our fans closer to the glory and passion of our game than did NFL Films.”

NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith: “Steve Sabol leaves a lasting impact on the National Football League that will be felt for a long time to come. His vision and innovation helped make him a pioneer the likes of which the NFL has never seen before and won’t see again. The Players of the NFL are indebted to Steve for his immense contributions to advancing our game and helping make the fan experience as great as it is. He was also a true friend of the Players. Our entire Player community will miss Steve, his brilliance and his warmth. He, and his father before him, linked generations of fans to generations of Players. We send our thoughts and condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. He was truly one of a kind.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “Steve Sabol was the creative genius behind the remarkable work of NFL Films. 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.”

13 responses to “NFL remembers Steve Sabol

  1. “The Autumn wind is a pirate”

    RIP Steve,
    NFL films was the best. The music, the voice (John Facenda)…you guys really cranked us up for football.

  2. Wow. Extremely saddened by this news. The Sabols were innovators and visionaries and their contributions cannot be overstated. R.I.P. Mr Sabol.

  3. Steve Sabol was a genius !

    He brought fans closer to the NFL action,
    with his NFL Films and Follies.

    NFL Films was the first company to wire coaches and players for sound as well as the first to use slow motion and montage editing in sports.

    Rest in Peace Steve . . . keep the cameras rollin’

  4. The Sabols’ achievements with NFL Films allowed pro football fans to enjoy the game on an entirely new level. Sincere condolences to Steve Sabol’s family and friends — his exemplary work will keep his memory alive long after this sad day.

  5. There isn’t a more valuable entity to any company in the world as the Sabol’s were to the NFL. They are the reason the NFL is the national pastime now. John Facenda’s voice is something I hear every time I watch football highlights. Francesa on WFAN had some awesome tributes today. I’m sick about this.

  6. RIP Steve, NFL Films made me an NFL fan. The music and the slow motion replays, absolutely amazing! You will be missed ..

  7. I can honestly say this is the first time I have ever seen all thumbs up on any subject on PFT. Well played football fans every where. RIP Mr. Sabol and thank you.

  8. It is a sad day. I am so glad that the Sabols were a part of my life. It is no stretch at all to say their name in the same breath as Malick, Spielberg, Kurosawa, Scorsese or Fujimoto. The true art that was beyond visionary that they gave to us is a treasure for the ages. I never met the men, but their stories are like my grandfather putting me to bed with tales of heroes casting my own dreams of glory. Thank you Steve and Ed Sabol and may your families revel with joy in all you brought to share.

  9. i just want to tell the world that though i never met him, Steve Sabol was my friend, my baby sitter, my mentor, my teacher and a better father figure than what my childhood offered. i’m deeply saddened by his passing, my prayers and thoughts go out to the Sabol family and the entire NFL films family. Thank you Steve for igniting and fueling the passion inside me for the NFL and lulling me to sleep on sleepless nights as i watched NFL film highlights i had recorded from marathons on ESPN. you will forever be missed and remembered!

  10. I was formerly employed by one of the NFL teams and had the opportunity to tour the NFL films office and meet Steve. It was a first class operation with a first class leader. My heart and prayers go out to the Sabol family, and thank you Steve for the great memories.

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