Our Mission is Our History, and More

Tales from the Vault

It has been called, “the ‘Citizen Kane’ of sports films,” a little piece of cinema that combines sweeping images of stadium pageantry, stirring music, sync-sound footage, and dramatic script lines like, “It starts with a whistle, and ends with a gun,” narrated by the great John Facenda.

It premiered five years after Hall of Famer Ed Sabol’s Blair Motion Picture Company produced their first NFL Championship Game film, and 2 years after his shop was re-christened NFL Films.  It was the first full length presentation of what would later be defined as ‘NFL Films-style.’  It is our silver screen foundation, and it’s titled, “They Call it Pro Football.”

Ed Sabol

Every filmmaking motif for which our work is recognized can be traced to that watershed production, which is required viewing for every Films intern class the day it arrives.  “We made the film in 1967,” NFL Films President Steve Sabol tells the newbies.  “Before then no one was using montages or slow motion.  They used old fashioned marching music and the narrators were usually sportscasters.  With this film, we changed all that.”

Nearly 45 years later we still draw inspiration from this classic.  As we continue to not only document the game but preserve and perpetuate the memories of all those who have helped make it what it is in 2011, “They Call it Pro Football” remains a phrase that connects us from the Sabols’ vision upon founding NFL Films, to now, when our mission has grown to encompass more than NFL history.  Each day we strive to find, share and capture America’s football stories in fresh and interesting ways.  This blog is our latest vehicle to help you experience pro football, the richly complex “game for the ear and eye.”

The conclusion of “They Call it Pro Football” (1967)

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