NFL Films president Steve Sabol, a pioneer of sports broadcasting who helped turn pro football into America’s favorite spectator sport, died Tuesday from brain cancer. He was 69.
His father, Ed, founded NFL Films. With Steve by his side, they pioneered many sports television standards, including slow-motion replays blooper reels, and the use of iconic voices to narrate action such as John Facenda. NFL Films garnered more than 40 Emmy Awards.
Some of his friends and colleagues at ESPN remember Steve Sabol:
ESPN President John Skipper on the passing of NFL Films President Steve Sabol:“Steve was a legend in this business — a dynamic, innovative leader who made NFL Films the creative force it is today. The work he and his dedicated and talented team create every day is one of the many reasons why so many more fans love the game of football today. On behalf of everyone at ESPN, I offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Penny, and the rest of the Sabol family.”
ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman, who first worked with Sabol in the mid-1980s: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend Steve Sabol. Every time I saw him, he brought a quick smile to my face. He was happy everyday on the job for a simple reason – Steve was a man who loved pro football and loved making movies about it. He and NFL Films have long been unparalleled in their craft and for that reason millions of us will forever owe Steve a huge thank you.”
ESPN NFL analyst and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, who has had an office at the NFL Films headquarters for many years: “Steve had amazing passion for the game of football and everything he did at NFL Films reflected positively on the coaches, players and administrators of the National Football League. For the last 22 years, Steve has been a great inspiration to me and was instrumental in my development as an NFL analyst. I will never forget how positively he impacted every person he came in contact with, not just in the football world. You would be hard pressed to find a single person that would have a negative word about Steve.”
ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt discussed Sabol’s impact and legacy on ESPN Radio’s The Scott Van Pelt Show this afternoon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.