1:12 p.m. CDT, September 18, 2012
Steve Sabol, the president of NFL Films, died Tuesday morning of brain cancer. He was 69.
"Steve was the creative genius behind NFL Films' remarkable work," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday in a statement. "Steve's passion for football was matched only by his talent and energy. He was a major contributor to the success of the NFL, a man who changed the way we looked at football and sports, and a great friend. His legacy is assured."
Sabol took over as president of NFL Films in 1985 from his father Ed, who started the company. In August 2011, when Ed Sabol was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, his son presented him in an emotional speech.
Five months earlier, Sabol had learned he had an inoperable brain tumor.
“Steve was an incredible visionary,” Goodell said. “He spent 50 years at the NFL and changed the way we see pro football. So when you're watching the games this week, it's worth remembering just how much Steve contributed to the way we think, see, and love our game.”
Sabol started as a cameraman and won more than 40 Emmy awards during his career. He pioneered techniques such as super slow-motion and wireless microphones on players.
“We all realized pretty quickly that Steve was the force behind what we were doing here,” Hank McElwee, NFL Films head of cinematography, told NFL.com earlier this year. “The pictures, Big Ed had the idea and he sold the owners on it, but when it came to the actual vision of this company, without a doubt, it was Steve. Steve saw things in a unique way that every network is copying right now.”
Sabol is survived by wife Penny, son Casey, parents Audrey and Ed, and sister Blair.