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The NFL world reacts to passing of Steve Sabol

If you were kid growing up in the 80s, Steve Sabol was nothing less than the keeper of the gate for the NFL and its rich history.

One of my fondest sports memories is waking up at dawn every Super Bowl Sunday, turning on ESPN and watching the NFL Films marathon of Super Bowl highlight shows.

Sabol -- almost always wearing a funky sweater out of the Cosby collection -- provided the intro and outro for each one of these programs, his voice as familiar as a family member's. What I didn't realize at the time was that Sabol was so much more than the host. He was the reason these programs existed.

Sabol died on Tuesday morning at the age of 69. It's a sad moment for all football fans that grew up on the romanticism and cinematic grace Sabol and his father, Ed, brought to the NFL.

Judging by the reaction on Twitter, we weren't alone in our fondness for one of the game's true innovators.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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