Another pillar of the NFL as we know it today is gone. Steve Sabol, president of NFL films died today at the age of 69 after a long battle with brain cancer. Steve's father, Ed, began filming NFL games in 1962 and by 1964, NFL Films was born. Steve, who was 22 years old at the time, joined his father's venture and eventually took over as President in 1985.
Under Steve's leadership, NFL Films was taken to new heights. He continued his father's vision for the company and NFL Films became the standard by which all sports coverage aspired. NFL Films was the first to wire players and coaches for sound. It was also the first to use ground-level slow motion and montage editing in sports.
As a result, the awards and recognition for such work were many.
NFL Films won 107 Emmys under his leadership and Steve himself won over 40 Emmy awards. He was the Sporting News 2002' "Sports Executive of the Year." He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. Steve inducted his father into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011, just months after Steve first learned of his cancer. I have little doubt Steve's bust will be enshrined not long from now.
And, of course for Raider fans, NFL Films means a great deal more than most fans. Because without it, we would not have the Autumn Wind poem, which was written by Steve Sabol and narrated by John Facenda, and the NFL films original song we have all known so very well throughout the long storied history of the Raiders.
To see just who Steve Sabol is and what he meant to the game of football as we know it, the NFL Network tribute to the life of Steve Sabol is worth a watch. See it HERE.
Thank you so very much, Steve. Your contributions to the game we love are unmeasurable and you will truly be missed. I think I can speak for the entire Raider Nation and indeed all sports fans in expressing my profound gratitude for all of your work and deepest sympathies to your colleagues, friends, and family.