Afternoon slumber

Turns out I should have taken a nap before I left Russell.

By time I pulled into the Courtyard in Salina, I was DEAD TIRED. I unloaded the car, but instead of conking out on the bed in the hotel room, I drove to Buffalo Wild Wings, leaned my seat back as far as it could go and dozed off. Letting the cold air in–it’s about 15 degrees cooler in Salina than it was in Hays this morning–helped me doze off. I finally got my butt up just before 4 to go into the restaurant.

I’m not that hungry right now, but I’ll be here long enough to get my appetite back. I don’t want to stay too too late, because I want to get some work done tonight. I didn’t bring it with me to Buffalo Wild Wings, but I figured I wasn’t going to get much done anyway.

I just learned Ed Sabol, the founder of NFL Films, passed away at the age of 98.

Sabol was a overcoat salesman living in Philadelphia who became interested in football and movie making by taking a video camera to son Steve’s games.

In 1962, Ed’s company, then known as Blair Motion Pictures (named after his daughter and Steve’s brother), won the bidding rights to film the 1962 NFL Championship game for the NFL. The film was so successful the NFL eventually hired Blair to produce highlight films for every NFL team in 1963 and 1964, as well as the league championship games, before buying Sabol’s company in 1965 and renaming it NFL Films.

Steve was Ed’s chief assistant and lead cameraman in the early years, and eventually took over as executive producer when Ed retired in the 1980s.

In 1966, Ed made one of the most important hires in the history of sports when he asked a news anchor from the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia to become the Voice of NFL Films.

John Facenda was already a legend in Philadelphia, but he soon became “The Voice of God” and the man who brought NFL Films to life. Combined with the musical wizardry of Sam Spence and his orchestra, NFL Films helped the sport surpass baseball as America’s most beloved, and turned players into larger than life heroes.

Facenda died in 1984 of lung cancer at 71. Sadly, Steve was taken from us in 2012 at 69, one year after Ed was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on February 9, 2015, in National Football League, Personal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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