'Genius' Behind NFL Films Dead at 69

Steve Sabol helped make football as popular as it is
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 18, 2012 3:30 PM CDT
This 2000 file photo shows NFL Films President Steve Sabol at his desk with an old 16mm movie camera.   (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer, File)

(Newser) – NFL Films President Steve Sabol, half of the father-son team that revolutionized sports broadcasting and mythologized pro football into the country's favorite sport, died today from brain cancer at 69. His father, Ed, founded NFL Films, and Steve was there working beside him right from the start in 1964. They introduced a series of innovations now taken for granted today, from slow-motion replays to blooper reels to sticking microphones on coaches and players. And they hired the "Voice of God," John Facenda, to read lyrical descriptions in solemn tones.

"Steve Sabol was the creative genius behind the remarkable work of NFL Films," said league chief Roger Goodell said in a statement. "He was a major contributor to the success of the NFL, a man who changed the way we look at football and sports, and a great friend." Ed Sabol was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year. The two received the Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2003. And yes, Steve Sabol came up with the phrase "frozen tundra," to describe Lambeau Field, notes the New York Times. (Read more NFL stories.)

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