Steve Sabol Remembered

Early Tuesday morning the game of football lost a pioneer as President of NFL Films Steve Sabol passed.

Following in the footsteps of his Hall-of-Fame father, the younger Sabol made it his life’s passion to capture the history and evolution of the NFL. However Steve Sabol was much more than a documentarian, he was a cinematic genius and brilliant storyteller with a natural ability to make even the most mundane moments of a football game seem epic. Sabol will live on in his countless phrases such as the “frozen tundra of Lambeau Field”, humorous football follies while providing us the sounds of the game brining to the life the gladiators of the gridiron.

Sabol’s legacy even transcended football being credited with inspiring such acclaimed movie directors as Sam Peckinpah and Ron Howard. Among his numerous awards, in 2003 Sabol was bestowed the distinct honor of a 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.” We can safely say anybody who has ever enjoyed watching a football game, or will enjoy watching a football game, owes a debt of gratitude to the Sabol family.

Throughout the years there has been a select group of visionaries that helped propel this amazing game to the forefront of American culture including; Lamar Hunt, George Halas, Wellington Mara, Lawrence Taylor, Dan Rooney, Bill Walsh, Sid Gillman, Jim Brown, Vince Lombardi, Sammy Baugh and Jim Parker (to name a few). Steve Sabol will not only become a future Hall-of-Fame inductee, he will forever be mentioned in the same breath as the most influential people the game has encountered.

And even now, in the wake of his passing, many of the games greats who knew him best are sharing their stories with the media. But they are rarely talking of Sabol’s cinematic genius, but rather how he was a better man than he was a filmmaker, the greatest compliment any of us can receive.


Rest in peace Steve Sabol, you will be missed.

About Eric Hartvigson