Back when the Packers went to the Super Bowl in Dallas, there was a gentleman, with his coat over his forearm, walking around the hotel where all of the radio stations were doing their programs at the time. That unassuming gentleman was the President of NFL Films, Steve Sabol. To my amazement, very few people were asking him for interviews so I asked him to sit down with me.
As I spoke with him about NFL Film’s origins, he smiled wide and told me all about his father Ed and the relationship he had with Vince Lombardi. You see, Lombardi was the first ever coach to allow NFL Films, all access, so to speak. Steve told me about the Packers, the characters he and his father filmed and how their cameras froze up during the Ice Bowl. He also spoke about the admiration he and his father had for the Packers as a franchise and their fans in particular.
After the days of Lombardi, NFL Films soared to new heights. It was Steve who took the sight of a perfectly spiraling football, in slow motion, and set it to dramatic music, simple yet poetic. The ballet-like capabilities of the macho giants competing in one of the most physical sports known to man. From the microphones on quarterbacks to the tear-jerking documentaries, NFL Films and Steve Sabol re-created what we already witnessed and made is fresh and even more compelling.
Sabol took what his father Ed had started and built into an incredibly respected art form.
For a man at the top of the mountain, you will find no more common gentleman in the truest sense. For that moment in time that I got to know Steve Sabol, I walked away feeling like I made a friend.
Steve Sabol passed away last week after a battle with brain cancer. He was 69