NFL Films' Steve Sabol dies

Steve Sabol (left) shakes hands with his dad, Ed, after the elder Sabol was inducted into the NFL...

Steve Sabol (left) shakes hands with his dad, Ed, after the elder Sabol was inducted into the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Reuters)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:55 AM ET

NFL Films president Steve Sabol died from brain cancer on Tuesday. He was 69.

Sabol became the second NFL television visionary to die this month, following former Cleveland and Baltimore owner Art Modell.

Sabol and his father Ed Sabol built NFL Films into the standard-bearer for behind-the-scenes sports coverage.

Often imitated, but never duplicated, the company helped immensely in growing the game into the most popular sport in North America.

Like the NHL’s 24/7 series, MLB’s The Show, or the NBA’s slick productions? Thank NFL Films for setting the precedent and pioneering so many breakthroughs that have since become commonplace.

Ed founded NFL Films in 1964 and Steve helped him out from the start.

The Sabols introduced and perfected things such as slow-motion replays, putting microphones on coaches and players and personalizing — “humanizing” said San Francisco owner Jed York — the NFL’s personalities.

“Steve Sabol was the creative genius behind the remarkable work of NFL Films,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.

“Steve’s legacy will be part of the NFL forever. He was a major contributor to the success of the NFL, a man who changed the way we look at football and sports, and a great friend.”

Sabol received a remarkable 35 Emmys for writing, cinematography, editing, directing and producing.

His father went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year.

“We see the game as art as much as sport,” Steve Sabol told The Associated Press before his father’s induction.

“That helped us nurture not only the game’s traditions but to develop its mythology: America’s Team, The Catch, The Frozen Tundra.”

While Modell helped get games on the air and helped his fellow owners get huge paydays, the Sabol’s went deep into the action, given viewers new and exciting reasons to grow attached to the NFL and its personalities.

“The players of the NFL are indebted to Steve for his immense contributions to advancing our game and helping make the fan experience as great as it is,” NFL Player’s Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said.

“His vision and innovation helped make him a pioneer the likes of which the NFL has never seen before and won’t see again,”

TURNER BUSTED

It appears Michael Turner celebrated a little too much after scoring a touchdown in Atlanta’s win over Denver on Monday.

The running back was arrested on drunken driving and speeding charges and spent about two hours in jail early Tuesday.

Turner was pulled over for driving at 97 mph — 32 mph over the speed limit, according to police.

The Falcons said they are “aware of the situation” and are “gathering more information.”

WINSLOW A PAT

Kellen Winslow Jr. has signed with New England, after first nearing a deal with the team a few weeks ago.

The Pats passed on Winslow then, but the injury to fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez prompted a second look, he passed a physical and was inked.

Hernandez could miss a month.

New England also brought back Deion Branch and released Greg Salas.

QUICK HITS

Former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former defensive assistant Mike Cerullo have been served with subpoenas by the lawyer for Jonathan Vilma in his defamation suit. They are believed to have provided most of the evidence used against Vilma and the other suspended players. For that reason, many believe the coaches will never work in the NFL again … Philadelphia has placed centre Jason Kelce on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season … Miami has admitted that general manager Jeff Ireland verball interacted with a fan on Sunday. According to the Miami Herald, after the fan said Ireland should fire himself, he responded by muttering “asshole.” … Washington has placed defensive end Adam Carriker and linebacker Brian Orakpo on IR … Tampa Bay has signed wide receiver Jordan Shipley … Bills safety Jairus Byrd is in a walking boot, but might be able to play this week … Cincy defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer says the team doesn’t “pass rush, pass cover, stop the run, stop the pass. We don’t tackle and play with enough effort.” To make things worse, defensive end Jamaal Anderson has been placed on IR … C.J. Spiller is the first player since Jim Brown in 1963 to average more than 10 yards per carry through two games.


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