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Class of 2011: Ed Sabol

  • By NFL.com
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Storyteller and historian

Ed Sabol and his creation of NFL Films in the early 1960s is often credited with helping to grow the popularity of the National Football League. The images captured by NFL Films helped bring the game into homes like never before and it changed the game.

Career Statistics:

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Did you know?
Ed Sabol would attend every league meeting and endeared himself to coaches by letting them beat him in golf. That's how he was able to get many of them to agree to be miked up for NFL Films. For more nuggets about Ed Sabol, check out Gil Brandt's series on the Class of 2011. More
Through the years
Get a better picture of Ed Sabol's career in this photo gallery.
3 Key Moments
First of many
Sabol realized very early on the importance of having its own motion picture company for promotion and recording history. He successfully lobbied the NFL to purchase his Blair Motion Pictures in 1964 and rename it NFL Films. And the rest was vividly recorded history.
First of many
NFL Films set the tone when it won its first Emmy in 1978 for "Road to the Super Bowl." During Sabol's tenure from 1964 to 1995, NFL Films would go on to win a total of 52 Emmy Awards. Sabol served as President of NFL Films until 1985, when he turned over his role to his son, Steve. He served as chairman through 1995.
Mic'd up
Sabol first put a microphone on a player and coach during a game in 1965. The most famous was putting a microphone on Chiefs coach Hank Stram in Super Bowl IV, where the Hall of Fame coach could be heard telling his team to "Just keep matriculatin' the ball down the field, boys."
Quotable
"My dad has a great expression. He always says, 'Tell me a fact and I'll learn, tell me the truth and I believe, but tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever.' Interestingly enough now, my dad's story is going to be in Canton and hopefully that will live forever, too." - Steve Sabol

"NFL Films had a real impact on the way movies get made, particularly montages, lots of different images, images on top of images, using slow-motion combined with the live action, the hard-hitting sound effects, it's very powerful. You juxtapose that with the incredible music and it creates a really emotional experience for the viewer. They made us better fans because they allowed us to appreciate it. You do begin to see the awesome athletic ability of the players. It blows me away. - Ron Howard

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