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September 18, 2012

Steve Sabol, Driving Force Behind NFL Films

The in-house production unit helped to make the NFL the top sports league in the U.S.

If the National Football League is the dominant professional sports league in the U.S., one of the reasons for its stature is NFL Films, the league’s in-house production unit, which for decades has produced footage as dramatic, thrilling and elegant as the best television series or movies.

Steve Sabol, a driving force behind NFL Films, died September 18, 2012, in Moorestown, New Jersey. He was 69.

According to news reports, the cause was brain cancer.

NFL Films was established in 1962 by his father, Ed, but it was Steve Sabol, as producer, writer, director and cameraman, who defined the look and feel of the product.

Within a decade of the division’s founding, football has risen from the fourth most popular sport in America to the first.

In 1987, Sabol became NFL Films’ president, a position previously held by his father.

He also worked on dozens of football-related documentary productions, including the recent Hard Knocks series and the acclaimed film Namath, both of which aired on HBO.

NFL Films has won 107 sports Emmy Awards; Sabol is by name on dozens of them.

More information about Sabol’s life and work is available at:

New York Times

Fox Sports

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