Steve Sabol spent his life in a world of football and his father Ed's movie-making. It seemed that Ed Sabol was always filming young Steve at all the games he played.
Steve was in his first year at Colorado College when he received a letter from his dad: "I can see from your grades that all you've been doing is playing football and watching movies. But that makes you uniquely qualified for the job I have here." Ed, working out of Philadelphia, had purchased the rights to film the 1962 NFL Championship game.
Steve quit college, reunited with his father, and took on the post of cameraman. The Sabols, along with veteran sports film director Dan Endy, braved the elements December 30, 1962, filming the NFL Championship game at Yankee Stadium. Their equipment was archaic, to say the least, and Ed was sick with worry that it would be a disaster. But enough unspoiled footage was salvaged to produce a 28-minute highlight film. Ed Sabol titled it Football's Longest Day, based on the conditions of filming, plus the fact that The Longest Day (a war epic) had been released in 1962.
From that humble beginning evolved the company that would become NFL Films. Steve was largely a film cameraman, writer, and editor in the 1960s and 1970s.
Thanks to the Lost Treasures of NFL Films TV series, Steve has shared many of his stories about how he and NFL Films seemed to grow together. Teams such as the Baltimore Colts and Philadelphia Eagles helped the Sabols innovate, from filming training camps and team meetings to capturing the sounds of the game. Perhaps NFL Films' biggest innovation, The Football Follies, got approval when it got roaring laughs during a screening at the Eagles' training camp.
When ESPN signed on Sept. 7, 1979, NFL Films was one of the first companies they signed up for production assistance. It made Steve Sabol an on-camera personality. Before then, Tom Brookshier and Pat Summerall hosted NFL Films' weekly football series. Since both of them were under CBS contract, ESPN asked Steve Sabol to become the new weekly host. Together with Harry Kalas, Steve hosted a weekly series under various titles, such as NFL Pro! Magazine, Review and Preview Show, and NFL Films Presents, which still airs in season today.
As NFL Films president, Steve Sabol has been honored many times over, from an American Public Television documentary called Tight on the Spiral to innumerable Emmy awards.
Since August 2001, Steve has presided over NFL Films' modern facility in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.