Ed Sabol, 1916-2015

Ed Sabol, 1916-2015

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Ed Sabol, who was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011, passed away on Monday at the age of 98. Sabol created NFL Films in the early 1960s and the spectacular film techniques he introduced played an integral role in pro football’s skyrocketing growth in popularity.



Ed Sabol epitomized the excellence that defines a Hall of Famer,” stated Hall of Fame President David Baker. “Ed’s contributions as an inspired storyteller and making the game America’s most popular sport will forever be immortalized in Canton. The Hall joins football fans everywhere in celebrating a life that included great vision, immense talent, and an insatiable passion for the game.”
Sabol worked for his father-in-law selling overcoats in Philadelphia when, at the age of 45, hatched the idea of converting his hobby into a new career.  The courage exemplified by the aspiring filmmaker resulted in the formation of Blair Productions, a company named after his daughter. Sabol approached NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle with an offer to double the $1,500 bid for broadcast rights to the 1962 NFL Championship.





His vision, through the creation of NFL Films that soon followed, influenced generations of football fans and catapulted the NFL into the country’s most popular sport. NFL Films incorporated unique camera angles and a storytelling perspective that added great drama to the presentation of the game.
Sabol served as President of NFL Films until 1985 when he turned over the company’s reins to his son Steve. The elder Sabol continued through his retirement in 1995. Sabol’s leadership and innovation resulted in many television and film firsts as NFL Films continually adapted to the latest technology to enhance its production of the game. During Ed Sabol’s tenure, NFL Films won 52 Emmys.

Sabol began his Enshrinement speech in Canton on Aug. 6, 2011 by sharing, “I dreamed a dream, the impossible dream. I dreamed the impossible dream, and I'm living it right this minute.”








Photos: Ed Sabol's Life
Video: Ed Sabol's Enshrinement Speech
Video: Sound of Films
Video: Making the Magic
Audio: David Baker on legacy of Ed Sabol
Photos: Ed Sabol's Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence
Story: Sabol's First Game
Video: Tight on the Spiral - Episode 1

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