Here at NFL Films, you’ll see three initials quite commonly: “SDS.” It’s on stickers, pins; it’s even on a flag outside. Someone very new to the facility might not realize at first the significance of those three letters to the over 260 employees here, and indeed, to the millions of people that have seen an NFL Films production. After spending just one hour here, you will.
Stephen Douglas Sabol, son of NFL Films founder Ed Sabol, became the face of his father’s company over the course of his lifetime. In many ways, he became the face of the NFL itself, as his behind-the-scenes spearheading of many projects and on-screen involvement in countless others made him one of the most recognizable figures in sports media.
Steve won over 40 Emmys for writing, cinematography, editing, directing and producing. Along with his father, he profoundly changed the way the American public viewed football and the way sports were filmed. Many have credited the NFL’s massive popularity as America’s favorite sport and the Super Bowl’s steady growth into the largest single-day sporting event in the world to his cinematic ingenuity.
At NFL Films, we are all indebted to Steve Sabol. I know for a fact that my love for the sport of football would not be nearly as great as it is if not for his life’s work, and I’m sure the vast majority of football fans can say the same.
In honor of Steve’s contributions to sports and film, the New Jersey State Senate has officially named October 2nd – tomorrow – “Steve Sabol Day.” Watch the bill pass here:
In many ways, all you needed to know about this remarkable man can be summed up in perhaps his most famous line: “Life is great. Football is better.”
Tonight at 9/8c, watch “Steve Sabol: A Football Life,” detailing his achievements and how he shaped the world of pro sports, only on NFL Network.