Very, very sad news for anyone who loves the game of football -- Steve Sabol of NFL Films was diagnosed with a brain tumor last week after suffering a seizure at an event in Kansas City on March 5. Sabol will undergo chemotherapy and radiation to try to eliminate the tumor, which was found in the left side of his brain.
"[Sabol] will begin treatments soon," the company's statement said. "Steve is in good spirits and is deeply appreciative of everyone's good wishes."
The 68-year-old Sabol has always been great at "telling on himself" when it comes to the story of his time with the company. He was a student at Colorado College in 1964 when his father Ed, the founder of NFL Films, called him up and said, "Judging from your grades, the only things you're doing out there are watching movies and playing football. But that makes you uniquely qualified for this new venture."
Sabol came home to Mount Laurel, N.J., and started working with his father in what used to be called Blair Motion Pictures before becoming NFL Films in the mid-1960s, when then-commissioner Pete Rozelle was impressed by the Sabols' work, and became convinced of the importance their efforts would be in creating a mythology around the game.
The Sabols became the caretakers of the league's history, and their incredible work has captured the excitement and emotion of football for generations. Ed Sabol was finally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011, and the company has won a total of 97 Sports Emmys. Steve Sabol has worked with the company in just about every possible capacity — from cameraman (he shot the Ice Bowl, among many other historic games) to producer to emcee to company overseer. When it comes to overall influence in the game of professional football, there may be a few people more influential than Steve Sabol, but it's a pretty short list.
Everyone at Shutdown Corner would like to pass along our thoughts and prayers for Mr. Sabol's quick and complete recovery. If you would like to pass along your well-wishes to Mr. Sabol, you may do so at Sabol.firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I heard the news, it felt as if someone had kicked me right in the gut. Because I learned to love the game of football through Steve Sabol's eyes. And whether you know his name or not, if you love the game, you've most likely learned to love it through his eyes, as well.
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