Slow motion replay. Mic’ed up players and coaches. Close-ups of players on the sidelines. Steve Sabol, the President of NFL Films, helped us see the NFL in a different way. He helped us learn more about the game we love. He helped us love the game even more. Sabol died this week at 69 years old, but his innovations will live on as long as professional football exists and even longer.
NFL Films was founded by Steve’s dad, Ed and became successful pretty quickly. This despite the fact that Ed’s only previous film experience was Steve’s high school football games and a movie about whales, which flopped when he couldn’t find any whales. From 1962, when Ed convinced Commissioner Pete Rozelle to let him film the NFL Championship game, NFL Films became as much a part of the game as tackles, touchdowns and bemoaning the calls of the referees. ESPN, HBO, ABC, NBC – anyone who broadcasts football games uses their images, their shots and their discoveries. Even Hollywood got into the act with directors like Ron Howard crediting NFL Films for inspiring aspects of their movies. Ed may have been the founder but, in a 2008 interview, he said about his son ““I may have started it, but he has been the engineer behind it…he comes up with these great ideas and is a great student of the game.”
To honor his memory, the NFL has created an extremely powerful video, which is going to be shown at stadiums across the country, prior to games this weekend. Perhaps one of the most important things that can be said about a person after they pass, is that they made a difference. Sabol did that and more. He helped millions of people understand the game a bit better, created phrases we’ll never forget (Frozen Tundra, for example) and helped propel the NFL to the height of popularity. Here is the video and I know I speak for all football fans when I say “Thank you, Mr. Sabol. You’ll be missed!”
Shame on those Steelers players (reportedly 50%) and others around the NFL, who are questioning the toughness of Ben Roethlisberger because he sat out the football game last night against the Baltimore Ravens after suffering a concussion in overtime the previous week. I am as big a football as the next guy, but in no way shape or form is one game worth a player’s life. Putting your life on the line for a football game is not a measure of toughness. This is not like playing with a sprained ankle or a broken finger. This is a HEAD injury and you don’t mess around with those. I applaud Coach Tomlin and Roethlisberger for making the right choice, even if it was the hard one, to put a player’s health above the game.
When a popular player, such as Hines Ward, insinuates that players are questioning the QB’s toughness because he didn’t lie to his doctors and followed their advice it sends a really bad message to all those young kids who dream of being a pro someday. Kudos to the NFL for beginning to recognize the dangers of head injuries and put policies in place to protect their players. Here’s hoping Ward and friends learn someday that you aren’t tough if you lie to doctors; that sometimes what makes you tough is making the hard choice.
I know this is a day early, but I’m not sure I am going to be able to post tomorrow and REALLY want to share this link with all of you. I have no idea how many of you actually read this thing, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this list. Seems like facial symmetry is an odd measure of attractiveness but maybe I’m wrong. I think my face is kinda symmetrical, so maybe that means I’m attractive??
Feel free to share your thoughts on this one. Anyway, it is a fun read.