ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Steve Sabol

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
NFC West/AFC West

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

If there was ever a person who was considered the historian of the NFL, it was Steve Sabol.

Along with his father Ed, Steve started what would become NFL Films back in 1962 when his father got the rights to the 1962 NFC Championship. From there, these men cataloged all the important and meaningful moments of the NFL, and we as fans could not be more grateful.

From NFL Football Follies (my personal favorite) to the Hard Knocks series, NFL Films has become one of the most popular components of the game. But its not just revered by fans. Sabol has been hailed as one of the most important television entrepreneurs of all time. He was honored in 2003 with the Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for “revolutionizing the way America watches football and setting the standard in sports film making.”

Born in 1942, Steve Sabol played football for Colorado College. After school, he joined his father in film, working as a cameraman. When ESPN was founded in 1979, they signed NFL Films as a production company. However, Steve didn’t stay behind the camera for long. He became an on-air personality in the 1980s.

Sabol has won numerous awards for his work. He has won over 35 Emmys, Sports Executive of the Year in 2002 from Sporting News, the Pete Rozelle Award, the Dan Reeves Pioneer Award, the 2010 Sports Leadership Award from the March of Dimes, and the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football. Sabol, along with his father, was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, and the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2011.

Sadly, Steve passed away from brain cancer in 2012, just two weeks before he turned 70. He was honored by the league in a ceremony in February of 2013.

It’s next to impossible to convey how important Steve Sabol was to the NFL in a short article. He was an innovator in the field of football, TV, and film. His impact will be felt for years and years to come. While most thought he should have been in the Hall of Fame years ago, he now joins his father and will be enshrined with the Class of 2020.

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