Sabol’s father, Ed, founded NFL Films as Blair Motion Pictures — named after his daughter — in 1962. The league agreed to let the Sabols be the official videographers of the NFL championship game that year, and then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozell was so impressed he asked the owners to buy out the company. The owners rejected the proposal, but the company was renamed NFL Films in 1964. Steve Sabol became president 21 years later.
Sabol learned that he had a brain tumor that couldn’t be removed in March 2011, after being hospitalized for a seizure. He confirmed his diagnosis shortly before his father’s enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said of Sabol:
“Steve was the creative genius behind NFL Films’ remarkable work. 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 won over 40 Emmy awards and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, along with his father. He also received the Pete Rozelle Award and the Dan Reeves Pioneer Award, and oversaw 107 Emmys for NFL Films. The company’s television programs include Hard Knocks and Inside the NFL.
Steve Sabol is survived by his wife, Penny, and son Casey. He is also survived by his parents, Ed and Audrey, and his sister, Blair.