Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films, the most honored filmmaker in sports, has been named the recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Daniel F. Reeves Pioneer Award. He will be honored in Canton, Ohio on Friday, August 3 at the Enshrinees Dinner. That event is the traditional kickoff of the 2007 Enshrinement Festival Weekend and where each member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2007 will receive their gold Hall of Fame jackets.
Established in 1972 and named after the late Daniel F. Reeves, the Pioneer Award is given periodically to an individual who has made a significant innovative contribution to professional football. Sabol is just the seventh person to receive the prestigious award.
While NFL Films has won 92 Emmys, Sabol, who continues to be the artistic and innovative vision behind the film studio, has received 35 of those Emmys himself for his writing, cinematography, editing, directing, and producing. No one in all of television has earned as many Emmys in as many different categories. Sabol also hosts the studio’s Emmy award-winning series NFL Films Presents.
In addition to his Emmy Awards, Sabol was named the 2002 Sports Executive of the Year by Sporting News magazine. He also received the prestigious Order of the Leather Helmet Award, which is presented each year by NFL Alumni to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the National Football League and to professional football. He joined a select group of honorees including: Vince Lombardi, Dan Rooney, Lamar Hunt, Tom Landry and Don Shula.
Steve is not the first Sabol to be honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 1991, his father and founder of NFL Films, Ed, was the recipient of the Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio and Television Award for “long and exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.”
Steve began his filmmaking career in 1962 as a cinematographer working for his father. As an All-Rocky Mountain Conference running back and team captain at Colorado College majoring in Art History, as well as an avid movie fan, Steve was, as his father put it, "uniquely qualified to make football movies."
In 2003, the creative father and son team were honored together with the Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for “revolutionizing the way America watches football and setting the standard in sports filmmaking.”
Previous Pioneer Award Winners: Fred Gehrke, 1972 | Arch Ward, 1975 | John Facenda, 1986 | David Boss, 1992 | George Toma, 2001 | City of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, 2004