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Old 09-18-2012, 01:00 PM   #16
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RIP, Steve. NFL Films helped make football what it is today.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:03 PM   #17
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I fvcking hate Cancer!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rip Steve...
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:06 PM   #18
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His works are breathtaking, and a real treat for football fans:

https://sites.google.com/site/findin...eller-art-show

NFL FILMS ARTISTS - STEVE SABOL - BOB MUELLER ART SHOW

WHAT DO BOB MUELLER & STEVE SABOL,
the MOST HONORED SPORTS FILM MAKER IN FILM HISTORY have in common?

#51 and AN ARTISTIC PASSION FOR NFL FOOTBALL


It's Unique, it's a First and it's Happening this summer
during the 2011 NFL HALL of FAME in CANTON OHIO


ORIGINAL STEVE SABOL ARTfeaturing
THE GUTS and THE GLORY OF FOOTBALL


BOB MUELLER'S ORIGINAL TOUGH GUYART
& THE NFL FILMS TOP 10/100 COLLECTION


Original Art Inspired by
DICK BUTKUS, JIM BROWN,
JOHNNY UNITAS, JOE MONTANA,
WALTER PAYTON, REGGIE WHITE,
JERRY RICE, LAWRENCE TAYLOR
and PEYTON MANNING.
2011 HOF Class Portraits
LES RICHTER, CHRIS HANBURGER, SHANNON SHARPE, RICHARD DENT
MARSHALL FAULK, DEION SANDERS, ED SABOL.


AUGUST 4th - SEPTEMBER 9th 2011 SEE THE COLLECTION LIVE in CANTON
CYRUS CUSTOM FRAMING & ART GALLERY Meet The TOUGH GUY ARTIST Aug 4th 5 - 10 PM2645 Cleveland Ave NW Canton Ohio Own a piece of history - NFL FILMS ARTISTS
330-452-9787



<table class="sites-layout-hbox" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td class="sites-layout-tile sites-tile-name-content-1">
STEVE SABOL: ARTIST
You know that Steve is easily the most honored sports film maker
in history with over 35 EMMY AWARDS to his name. What you probably didn't know is that he is a life long artist with a passion and style as unique his NFL Films.


His art collection, THE GUTS AND THE GLORY OF FOOTBALL brings his love of history, nostalgia and the grit of NFL Football together in his hand made collages and art work. His eye for detail and cinematic sense of drama and color make his work visually stunning and intellectually interesting.





All the pieces in the show are offered for sale making this a unique opportunity for fans and art patrons alike to actually own a piece of history as created by the legendary eye of the president of NFL FILMS.

</td><td class="sites-layout-tile sites-tile-name-content-2">BOB MUELLER: ARTIST
A life long Chicago Bears fan, Bob, the TOUGH GUY ARTIST awakened his long dormant artist within - then set out to rediscover
himself through his boyhood hero. Steve Sabol captured the story in the 2008 EMMY AWARD winning NFL Films "FINDING YOUR BUTKUS".



Since the feature, his art has quickly become collectable for both players and fans. He blends the raw vibrance of football with the deep emotion that it takes to play the game.







With the liberal use of color and mediums, Mueller's work explodes off the canvas with movement and vibrance.


There's nothing subtle about football or this artist.


His ultimate passion is for the players of the 1960's and 70's so creating THE NFL FILMS TOP 10/100 with Steve was a dream come true.


Mueller's NFL FILMS Top 10/100 Collection, as well as portraits of the 2011 Hall of Fame Inductees will be on sale at the Cyrus Gallery in Canton.

</td></tr></tbody></table> SYNCHRONICITY, DETERMINATION & 51



During the 1969 NFL Season a young cameraman crawled in the mud along a wet Chicago sideline and filmed the most famous shot in NFL FILMS history: The Bloody Hands of Dick Butkus sitting in the blood, the mud and rain. Three thousand miles away on a island in British Columbia a teenager saw this image and was inspired to draw pictures of his new football hero, Dick Butkus.


Forty years later the teenager, after a lifetime of experiences became an artist again and the celebrated cameraman became the President of NFL Films. Steve Sabol had inspired a teenage artist years ago and now the artist inspired the film maker as they shared a mutual passion for their favorite football player of all time, #51.


SEE THIS PASSION ON DISPLAY at CYRUS CUSTOM FRAMING & GALLERY this summer




BUY NFL FILMS ART starting August 4th, 2011


GRAND OPENING PRESENTATION in person BOB MUELLER


AUGUST 4th - 7:OO PM



Steve really was quite a guy:

http://stevesabolart.com/

Last edited by Beaglebay; 09-18-2012 at 02:24 PM..
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:49 PM   #19
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CHFF pays homage with a great article that includes some terrific links to Sabol's art.

Quote:
Count me among the millions who, yes, love football because of the impact of Sabol and his father, NFL Films founder Ed Sabol.
He was the multimedia pigskin poet, a man who wrapped beautiful words and beautiful images around a violent, bloody game and packaged it in ways that enraptued sports fans.
The "Autumn Wind is a Pirate" episode of NFL Films remains one of the best thngs ever written about football. I believe, but am not sure, that Sabol personally wrote the script.
I had the good fortune to meet Sabol once. He invited me down to NFL Films and came to greet me in his office. CHFF stories covered the walls of his office, complete with highlights and hand-written notes.
It may be the highlight of my time in this business, to know that the man who had infuenced so much of my life took time to study my work.
At a time when hockey, baseball and football fought for the interest of a young boy in Boston, it was the artistry of the Sabols and NFL Films that proved the determining factor.
Super Bowl XIV between the Steelers and L.A. Rams was played on Jan. 20, 1980, my 10th birthday. The scene at the Rose Bowl that day was majestic, with the bright Southern California winter sun glittering off 100,000 silver streamers in the hands of fans in the stands. It was a spectacle in every since of the word when live.
It was even better on NFL Films.
The spectacle of kickoff descended into twilight, as Terry Bradshaw unleashed his patented Super Bowl bombs under the lights, lifting the Steelers to their fourth championship in six years.
The Washington Redskins of the 1980s are still my favorite team. I was in the throes of young football lust at the time and they were the most colorful and most dominant team of those years, in the wake of the Pittsburgh dynasty. Still one of the more fascinating teams in football history.
Those Redskins were, as we wrote years ago, "The Last Old School Team."
The origins of the Cold, Hard Football Facts can be traced to the Dolphins-Redskins game in Super Bowl XVII: I sat in my room the days before the game, calculating stats for each team on graph paper, hoping to find ways that my beloved Redskins would win, which they did ... and in grand fashion.
It was the 4th quarter. It was 4th and inches. The Redskins trailed 17-13. The entire world knew that John Riggins, the Diesel, was getting the football. He busted off tackle and rumbled for a 43-yard touchdown and what proved the game-winning score. It was a perfect punctuation for the Diesel and the Hogs.
It was brilliant watcing it unfold as a boy.
It never gets old on NFL Films,
Sabol's championship team captured it all, from the shaking timbers of the old RFK in the momentously giddy NFC title game win over the Cowboys that year, to the deisel horns echoing as Riggins rumbled over another helpless opponent, to that thunderous touchdown run over Miami's overmatched Don McNeal in the Super Bowl.
It was beautiful to watch in the winter of 1983. Those experiences that influence my life 30 years later live on in the visual poetry of the late Steve Sabol today.
http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com...-cancer/17249/
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:20 PM   #20
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RIP. Thank you for everything you did for the game.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:34 PM   #21
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http://www.latimes.com/news/obituari...,4884245.story

Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films, dies at 69

Steve Sabol helped his father, Ed, launch the business in 1962, and offered a player's perspective that allowed NFL Films to combine gritty images with artistic flair.

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<table cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td> Steve Sabol helped turn NFL Films into a powerhouse. (NFL Films)
</td></tr></tbody></table>
Related photos



By Mike Kupper, Special to The Times September 18, 2012, 11:16 a.m.

Steve Sabol, who helped his father get an unlikely fledgling movie company off the ground, then later took over and expanded the family business, now known to sports fans as NFL Films, has died. He was 69.
Sabol, who had served as president of NFL Films since 1985, died Tuesday, the company announced. He had been diagnosed with brain cancer in March 2011.
Sabol was a football-playing art student with a flair for self-promotion when, in the fall of 1962, his father Ed called him home to Philadelphia from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, advising the young man that they, and a few others yet to be hired, would be filming the National Football League's championship game that December.
At that point, Ed Sabol had never filmed a pro football game. He had not, in fact, filmed anything professionally. He had, mostly, filmed the Sabol family at leisure and at play, in large part Steve playing youth and high school football. Even so, he had convinced NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, primarily by doubling the previous year's bid to $3,000, that he was just the man to record what would be the title game between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.
For Ed Sabol, who had been peddling menswear for his father-in-law's clothing factory, it was the opportunity of a lifetime and he wanted an idea man he could trust at his side.
Steve Sabol recalled often, "He said he could see by my grades that all I'd been doing for the last four years at Colorado is playing football and going to the movies. So he said, 'I think that makes you uniquely qualified for this.' "


So the young Sabol returned home and shouldered one of the eight cameras the Sabol crew used on what turned out to be a bitingly cold day in Yankee Stadium. Despite camera malfunctions, film breaks and lens freeze-overs, Blair Motion Pictures, as Ed had named his recently formed company, in honor of his daughter Blair, came up with an unusual melding of art and football that set the tone for all that was to follow.
Two years later, Ed Sabol had convinced Rozelle that the NFL needed its own film company and Blair became NFL Films, a wholly owned, yet artistically independent, subsidiary of the league. With that, the Sabols turned sports movie-making into something entirely new, combining gritty, yet artistic, football frames with stirring background music and authoritative narration, much of it written by Steve and delivered in doomsday tones by John Facenda, sometimes called "the voice of God."
As a team, the Sabols meshed beautifully. Ed was seldom short of ideas but what he didn't think of, Steve did. And often, it was Steve who suggested the artistic touches that set NFL Films apart.
"My dad wanted to show the game the way Hollywood portrayed fiction, with a dramatic flair," Steve Sabol told USA Today in 2008. "I wanted to show the game the way I had experienced it as a player, with the eyeballs bulging and the veins sticking out and the snot flying. We blended those two styles."


Thus, the films showed sweat dripping off skinned noses, savage line clashes in slow motion, and a fatigued player on the bench looking like the Indian warrior in sculptor James Earle Fraser's "End of the Trail."
Ed Sabol ran the business, as chairman and president, until turning the presidency over to Steve in 1985. When Ed retired as chairman in 1995, Steve moved into that position as well, NFL Films never missing a beat. Today, it not only films all things NFL team highlight productions, Super Bowls, blooper shows and various specials for TV it also lends its expertise to Hollywood football movies and serves as a treasure trove of pro football history with more than 100 million feet of film stored in a fireproof facility in Mount Laurel, N.J. The facility, Steve Sabol liked to brag, is big enough to house a Boeing 727.
George Halas, founder of the Chicago Bears and one of the founders of the NFL, had some initial misgivings about the filmmakers. At first he thought they were spies but later referred to the Sabols as "the keepers of the flame."
Steve Sabol was born Oct. 2, 1942, in Moorestown, N.J., and while growing up nurtured two great passions: art, whose appreciation he got from his mother Audrey, who befriended up-and-coming artists and hung their work in the Sabol home; and football, a craving he developed on his own.
So determined was he to succeed as a football player that when he went to Division III Colorado College as a 170-pound fullback, one with little discernible talent, he decided all he needed was some positive publicity.
He took out newspaper ads, had T-shirts, brochures, buttons and color postcards printed, all touting "Sudden Death Sabol, the Prince of Pigskin Pageantry now at the Pinnacle of his Power." He invented a new hometown, Coaltown Township, Pa., then later changed it to Possum Trot, Miss.


He barely played for two seasons, yet, in the program for the last game of his sophomore season, a full-page ad appeared: "Coach Jerry Carle congratulates Sudden Death Sabol on a fantastic season." And the next fall, an ad in a Colorado Springs newspaper proclaimed, "The Possum Trot Chamber of Commerce extends its wishes for a successful season to its favorite son Sudden Death Sabol."
Coach Carle, Sabol often said, "looked at me like I was a side dish he hadn't ordered."


And yet, as a junior, having gained 40 pounds, he not only played but was voted to the all-conference team and, he figured, big things awaited him as a senior. Except his father called, saying, "I need you here." So Steve went home, took the only job he ever had and turned it into bigger things than Sudden Death Sabol had ever imagined.


Ed Sabol was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Kupper is a former Times staff writer.
news.obits@latimes.com


Copyright 2012, Los Angeles Times
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:38 PM   #22
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They said on NFLN that Steve played against Parcells in college.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:00 AM   #23
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Remembering Steve Sabol: 'I was very honored to call him a friend'
by Jim Corbett, USA TODAY Sports Updated 1h 5m ago
Comments

Kirby Lee, U.S. PRESSWIRE
Steve Sabol at the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame announcement show at Super Bowl XLV.
Enlarge
Kirby Lee, U.S. PRESSWIRE
Steve Sabol at the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame announcement show at Super Bowl XLV.
Greg Cosell. Bill Parcells. Mike Mayock. Joe Theismann. Brian Billick.
Five football men called NFL Films president and iconic storyteller Steve Sabol a beloved friend they owe a debt of gratitude to for how Sabol inspired them with his boyish passion for a game Sabol and his father, Ed raised to visual American art form.
Cosell has served as executive producer of "NFL Matchup'' since 1984 when Sabol suggested a pioneering concept as Cosell was just beginning his career at Sabol's family business, NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, N.J.
"I view Steve as my mentor, as a great friend,'' Cosell told USA TODAY Sports. "He is the one who came to me back in 1984 and said, 'Hey, I have an idea that would be great for you.'''
It turned out to be NFL Matchup, the sharp inside football show that Cosell, analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge along with ESPN host Sal Paolantonio continue to bring to life each Sunday morning.
"The things that stand out most for me about Steve are two-fold,'' Cosell said. "Steve was truly one of the most genuinely nice decent human beings you'd ever want to meet in all circumstances. We obviously work in a business where there are very strict deadlines.Not once did I ever see him treat anybody any differently than we'd want to be treat all the time. Not one time.
"The other thing is he had a way of making you in doing your job feel like you can do anything -- like it was your job to do and you were going to do it incredibly well. Then, he'd let you go do your job. And if he wanted to make a few changes, he'd talk to you and with you, never at you. Never like a boss.''
Parcells, the two-time Super Bowl-winning New York Giants coach who helped turn around the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys franchises, recalled facing an all-conference fullback from Colorado College of Mines in his first coaching stop as linebackers coach at Hastings College.
"Steve was a fullback,'' Parcells says. "He was also his own PR man. He had a 4.5 rushing average and he rounded it off to 5. And he gave himself a moniker, "Sudden Death Sabol.'
"It's hard to lose a great friend like this. He was a great guy. And I was very honored to call him a friend.''
Mayock grew up in the same suburban Main Line, Philadelphia area as Sabol, played at the same high school and the former safety for the Parcells Giants got to know Sabol through his work as an NFL Films and NFL Network analyst.
"I was at a dinner in June honoring Steve in Philadelphia,'' Mayock says. "And there were a lot of NFL coaches and general managers there. My everlasting thought of Steve is just going to be how much people genuinely, genuinely loved the guy.
"He wasn't just brilliant with what he did with NFL Films. He was one of the most loved men I've ever met in my life. Everybody inside that building, it doesn't matter if you were a cameraman, a receptionist, a football analyst, a tape cutter, everybody in that building loved Steve Sabol.''
Sabol's humble, uplifting presence was palpable inside his house, the state-of-the-art Mt. Laurel, N.J. Films office and studio complex that showcases classic framed photos of NFL greats and the 35 Emmys Sabol won during his career as an American film and mythmaker.
"There was an energy in that building, that was better than any energy I've ever felt in a building in my life and it was because this guy empowered his employees to go out and be the best they could,'' Mayock said.
Theismann said Sabol was the first man to put him before a camera as an analyst after his Washington Redskins playing career ended.
"The National Football League truly lost a piece of itself with the passing of Steve,'' Theismann says. "A part of the league just doesn't exist anymore. It's a sad day for the NFL, a sad day for a lot of us to lose a friend.
"When you look at NFL Films, you're really watching the blood flow through the veins of the NFL. And Steve was the heart.''
Billick works as an analyst at Films besides doing games for Fox and said walking down the hallway to Sabol's office reminded of a walk through the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio with all the mementoes, Super Bowl programs and framed jersies of legends lining the walls.
"We did the first 'Hard Knocks' together,'' the former Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl-winning coach said, "And I would not have done it except that it was Steve Sabol. Everything was going to be first-class. That was what sold me on doing the first 'Hard Knocks' was Steve Sabol and the faith I had in him and his love for the game."

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/nfl/s...riend/57806118
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:22 PM   #24
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This is briefly mentioned in Chev's post above, but it's worth a re-mention:

Quote:
The Autumn Wind

The Autumn wind is a pirate
Blustering in from sea
With a rollicking song he sweeps along
Swaggering boisterously.
His face is weatherbeaten
He wears a hooded sash
With a silver hat about his head
And a bristling black mustache
He growls as he storms the country
A villain big and bold
And the trees all shake and quiver and quake
As he robs them of their gold.

The Autumn wind is a Raider
Pillaging just for fun
He'll knock you 'round and upside down
And laugh when he's conquered and won.

Steve Sabol - 1974
Cheers, BostonTim
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:20 AM   #25
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http://www.csnne.com/09/20/12/Belich...l/landing.html


Belichick salutes NFL Films' Sabol

September 20, 2012, 8:18 am SHARE THIS POST0 COMMENTS

By Tom E. Curran

The passing this week of Steve Sabol moved people in all parts of the NFL - owners, coaches, players and the media - to say nothing of what Sabol and his work meant to fans.

I didn't know Steve well but I did speak with him in person or by phone several times. Warm, sincere, interested in listening, and just a deep, intelligent guy whose passion was applied to this game we all love.

In the artist's statement on his website, "Steve Sabol Art", he wrote, "Norman Mailer remarked that all artists tend to be governed by a ruling passion. I regard myself as luck to have been able to discover mine. "

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick - a football historian as well as a decorated coach - trusted Sabol implicitly.

"You can’t say enough about Steve and what he has meant to the National Football League, NFL Films and the game of football," Belichick said on a conference call with the Baltimore media on Wednesday. "I think he has presented the game in a way that all fans, all of us, enjoy. You can see the excitement, the entertainment and can laugh at, depending on how it’s being presented. He has done a tremendous job of gaining the trust and confidence of the people that he has worked with, which isn’t the easiest thing to do, to do what he does and get that kind of cooperation.

"I think over the years he has developed a great level of respect and trust and that says a lot," Belichick added. "I don’t think that piece [‘Bill Belichick: A Football Life’] would have ever happened without Steve Sabol, to be honest with you. He’s a special man, and he did so much for our game, for the NFL and for the game of football. It’s a sad day. He’s a great man.”

Belichick granted NFL Films incredible access to do the much-celebrated documentary that was released last year. Normally pretty reserved (to say the least), Belichick explained that, "Once we understood what we were doing and everybody was on the same page, we had good lines of communication, so it wasn’t really a problem. I think the respect and trust and mutual respect that we had for each other made that a relatively easy undertaking.”

Sabol made things easy in a difficult line of work
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:44 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by BostonTim View Post
This is briefly mentioned in Chev's post above, but it's worth a re-mention:



Cheers, BostonTim
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:09 PM   #27
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My younger sister worked for the NFL for 10 years and knew Sabol well. She tells me all the stories of what a guy he was are 100% true.
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:04 AM   #28
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Steve Sabol: The NFL's storyteller


September 22, 2012 5:49 PM By NEIL BEST neil.best@newsday.com


Neil Best

'Football is such a great game, but football players are so dull,'' Steve Sabol said. He had just watched a dreary interview with a "brutal" tight end who leveled an opponent and explained the play only with an aw-shucks, "I was lucky.''

Wouldn't it be better, Sabol wondered, if he could dramatize things by writing material himself? He said he would have had the big galoot say something like, "Look at him, he's still breathing,' or something real colorful like that.''

No surprise there. As the creative force behind NFL Films for a half-century, Sabol perfected the art of mining the mundane for the masterful -- and if he couldn't find it, he'd use poetic license to make it so.

But here's the remarkable thing: The thoughts above were uttered in 1965, when Sabol was a 23-year-old running back at Colorado College and Sports Illustrated presciently visited to chronicle his shameless, creative self-promotion, complete with a nickname ("Sudden Death") and fictional hometown (Possum Trot, Miss.).

The tight end in question? Mike Ditka, then 26, when he still played for the Bears and George Halas still coached them.

Only in passing did the story mention Steve's father, Ed, "produces the official color films of the National Football League's championship games.'' But it did speculate that come graduation, Steve might go to work for the old man.

It was a good thing for the NFL that he did. Steve, who died Tuesday at 69, helped Big Ed, as he called his father, revolutionize the way sports were captured on camera and in the process create the mythology of modern pro football.

Many moments fans think they remember watching live on TV actually are iconic replays courtesy of NFL Films, from Joe Namath waving an index finger at the Orange Bowl in 1969 to Franco Harris' Immaculate Reception in 1972 to Dwight Clark's Cowboys-beating touchdown in 1982.

The video magic extended off the field as well. There might be no better example of Sabol's front-row-seat-for-life than the footage of a 1960s cocktail party in Vince Lombardi's basement that turned up in an HBO/NFL Films documentary about the Packers coach in 2010.

Young Steve Sabol shot it all, naturally.

Images now so common they are clichs once were pure inventions of Sabol and his crew, from passes spiraling through the air in slow motion to linemen digging their hands into the ground and snorting snot and sweat.

Coaches and players miked for sound? Yup, Sabol played a big part in that, too, producing gems from Hank Stram on the sideline during Super Bowl IV urging the Chiefs "just keep matriculating the ball down the field" to Bill Belichick on the sideline in Super Bowl XLVI, urging the Patriots not to concern themselves with Mario Manningham on the Giants' final drive. Oops.

Sabol's mission was more propagandistic than journalistic, to be sure. He worked for the NFL and loved football, and coaches and players learned to trust him not to make them look bad, as when Belichick, of all people, gave NFL Films extreme access for a recent show called "A Football Life.''

Wednesday, it will be Tom Coughlin's turn to be spotlighted in the series. Let's just say that not any camera crew gets invited into the Giants coach's home.

Sabol was a storyteller not only when the cameras came on, but always. A visit to his office in Mount Laurel, N.J., inevitably would turn into a lengthy afternoon full of tales, some of them tall.

The storytelling never stopped, a lesson in human nature Steve learned from Ed, now 96, who understood stories trump dry facts every time.

After being diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 2011 and before introducing his father upon Ed's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last summer, Sabol couldn't help marveling over the juiciness of the narrative.

He told Sports Illustrated, "Dad makes the Hall of Fame. Son's going to be his presenter. Son gets a brain tumor. Now the story is, 'Is the son going to be there? Will the son make it?' What a great story this is going to be, however it turns out."

It was, and is.

Sabol's death inspired an extraordinary response from the football community, with heartfelt remembrances from owners, coaches, players, media executives and journalists. Not bad for an art history major from Possum Trot.

The Sabol magic never was more evident than in a poem he wrote, "The Autumn Wind,'' which when read by John Facenda and backed by a jaunty orchestral soundtrack became the unofficial theme of the Raiders and the quintessential example of inspired NFL Films schmaltz.

"The autumn wind is a pirate,'' it began, "blustering in from the sea. With a rollicking song he sweeps along, swaggering boisterously.''

Sabol's piece debuted in 1974 in a Raiders highlight film. Saturday the autumn wind -- and with it the heart of another NFL season -- blew in for the first time since then without Sabol around to narrate for us.

It felt colder than usual.

Source: http://www.newsday.com/sports/media/...ller-1.4028902
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:30 AM   #29
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http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/20...vCI/story.html

Steve Sabol captured Patriots for posterity
By Greg A. Bedard | GLOBE STAFF SEPTEMBER 23, 2012

You can’t underestimate the lasting impact that the late Steve Sabol had on the NFL.

Sabol, who died Tuesday at 69, was president and co-founder (with his father) of NFL Films, whose depiction of the game is one of the biggest reasons the sport ascended to the top of the American sports landscape, as colleague Chris Gasper eloquently pointed out in his column Friday.

Every NFL team benefitted from the work done by Sabol and his hundreds of employees at NFL Films. The Patriots are no exception. Years from now, when the Robert Kraft-Bill Belichick-Tom Brady dynasty is long over, a choice few NFL Films productions will serve as time capsules for an extended era of excellence.

The first are the “America’s Game” documentaries about each Super Bowl winner, including the three-time champion Patriots.

Related
Graphic: Why does Bill Belichick defer the kick so often?
Then there are the two most important pieces of Patriots history, “A Football Life: Bill Belichick,” and “Year of the Quarterback: The Brady 6.”

In “A Football Life,” Belichick wore a microphone for the entire 2009 season and the drama played out over two lengthy episodes.

While walking out to practice Friday, Belichick told the story about how it came about.

“I never even told Steve this,” Belichick said.

Sabol came to Belichick in Foxborough to pitch the idea. Sabol had an elaborate sales pitch set up and went through the whole thing. But he didn’t have to.

“I mean, it would be hard for me to say no to Steve Sabol or David Halberstam [the late author who penned ‘The Education of a Coach’ about Belichick],” Belichick said. “I mean, those guys are geniuses at what they did.

“So Steve comes in with the big presentation, going on about, ‘Hey, I did this with Lombardi and this and that.’ He’s going on and on and on, and I’m sitting there thinking to myself, ‘Well, I’m going to do this.’

“But he sort of never really asked me about it. He started the whole presentation and went through it before he finally asked the question, maybe 10 minutes later of telling me all the things he did, and how I should trust him and how he would . . . all the things that were part of it.

“So after about 10 minutes he said, ‘So, what do you think?’ I thought the whole time, I knew I was going to do it. But I said, ‘Yeah, it’s good.’ [He said], ‘Great.’

“I’m sure he felt like it was his sales pitch that did it, but I was sold before he even tried to make the sale.”

In 2002, Sabol told the godfather of this space, Will McDonough, that he once read a questionnaire Belichick filled out that asked what his favorite movie was.

“Anything by NFL Films,” was Belichick’s answer.

“I thought that was great,” Sabol said then.

The programs had a huge influence on Belichick growing up. “I think anytime there was an NFL Films presentation or show on, I found a way to watch it,” Belichick said. “That was back before the VCR days and all that.

“But the Football Follies, the stuff on Lombardi and Landry, the Ice Bowl and all those games . . . yeah. He certainly opened a lot of doors from an entertainment and appreciation of football standpoint . . . slow motion. I mean, the guy puts a spiral to music and you’re spellbound by it. A lot of talent there.”

“The Brady 6” chronicled the rise of Brady from marginal college quarterback at Michigan to Super Bowl champion and NFL MVP. Sabol did it within the context of the six quarterbacks drafted before Brady in 2000.

“I didn’t know him real well,” Brady said. “I was lucky enough to be interviewed by him a few times.

“I kind of agreed to do it when he asked because of him. I always felt with the documentation that NFL Films has done over the years, it’s hard when Steve Sabol asks you to do something to say no.

“He was obviously a pioneer and I really was lucky enough to get a chance to spend some time with him.”

Brady was reluctant to do the project at first because he worried about how things might be portrayed, considering he was still playing. But in the end, Sabol found the perfect mix of telling an interesting story without fawning over Brady.

“He did, no question,” Brady said. “But that’s what made him so great. He always found the story within the story. And I think that’s why people watch all those NFL Films stuff like they do.”

Kraft said it really struck him — as a fan, before he bought the team in 1994 — how the NFL Films highlight videos could make even fans of the 1-15 1990 Patriots team feel good. “To me, he was a visionary, an entrepreneur, a historian, but in the end he was really an artist,” Kraft said. “He could bring artistry to football fans. It’s something that’s a dying breed. He just had that gift and skill knowing how to touch the fan base. But some things, it’s just artistry.”

After the advent of the NFL Network in 2003, Sabol often sought out Kraft, who was chairman of the league’s broadcast committee, for counsel in dealing with the transition.

“He flew up to see me, I think, in 2005,” Kraft said. “We had started the NFL Network and the dynamics changed when you’re a talented, artist kind of guy. He was very concerned and responsible. And he came up and we spent a couple of hours trying to help him balance the business and the politics of a new organization.”

With Sabol gone, many are wondering who is going to speak for NFL Films. So much has changed, since the network now looks at the bottom line and wants to run quick and cheap programming like Top 10 lists and Top 100 players. Sabol always fought for artistry, for meaningful programs.

Patriots fans and history are better for it. It would be a shame for others not to get the same benefit. Maybe someone like Kraft, who shares the same vision of quality as Sabol, can be that champion.

“I thought one of the hidden assets that was carried on the balance sheet for everyone at zero but was worth a fortune, was NFL Films,” Kraft said. “Really because of what he and his dad created, and they did it in a quality way. They stressed quality. They do things in depth. They do it as students of the game.”

Hopefully, somebody else will.
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Old 09-23-2012, 05:04 PM   #30
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I was truly saddened when I heard about this. NFL Films helped deepen my love of football with its artistic shots, stirring music, and the voice of God.

Those films stir the soul. RIP, Steve Sabol.
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