Steve and Ed Sabol, the father and son team who created the legendary NFL Films. Picture taken before the 1991 Super Bowl.
Come on NFL fans, where would your football history knowledge really be without the gift of NFL Films? Were you there when Lombardi's Packers were dominating teams? NFL Films was. Did you have a ticket to the game that saw Steelers running back Franco Harris immaculately pluck the pigskin out of the air and win a game in the final seconds? NFL Films was. Perhaps you remember being in the stands when Forty-Niners tight end Dwight Clark caught a high spiral from quarterback Joe Montana for a touchdown that would begin the teams' domination in the 1980's? NFL Films was there.
In the examples I've given, not only was NFL Films there, but they were busy capturing those moments and many others on film for us the admirers of professional football. The man behind the idea to preserve the great football moments on film is Ed Sabol. Ed, along with his Son Steve, began filming NFL games under their company Blair Motion Pictures in 1962. In 1964 BMP became NFL Films with an exclusive contract to preserve NFL games on film. Here almost fifty years later the NFL is recognizing Ed and NFL Films for their unparalleled contribution to the league and the game of football.
Ed Sabol was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio yesterday along with the likes of five great players; Marshall Faulk, Chris Hanburger, Shannon Sharpe, Deion Sanders and Richard Dent. The players have left behind a career that helped set a standard for great players to come. The induction of Ed Sabol acknowledges not only the contribution, but the high standard of creativity and commitment instilled in NFL Films.
NFL Films continues to bring us fans that high standard of production that Ed Sabol established. We fans would not have the passion for our team that we so proudly wear like a badge of honor, if it weren't for NFL Films. My proud Silver & Black Oakland Raiders might have established their intimidating image on the field, but the boisterous impressions from the swaggering sights and rollicking sounds that NFL Films captured on film makes the memories legendary and everlasting. The Autumn Wind poem would never have been a Raider were it not for NFL Films and their chosen voice of God, the late "John Facenda."
The beauty of Ed's Hall of Fame recognition is that unlike with the other inductees, his legacy continues providing fans, both new and old, with the magic of the game. I should include future NFL players in the list of fans inspired by NFL Films. I'm sure that the majority of NFL Players were admirers of NFL Films before they ever played a game of football. We should thank Ed and NFL Films for inspiring young athletes to aspire to become professional football players for the love of the game.
In 1995, Ed officially retired from NFL Films in his role as President and Chairman.
Thanks Ed for lighting the torch and insuring through NFL Films that the path to seeing football greatness, both past and present, will always be accessible for any travelers feet to tread.
Watch Ed Sabol and NFL Films' Hall of Fame enshrinement clip: NFL FILMS