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Steve Sabol (NFL Films) Gone

from The New York Times

Steve Sabol, Cinematic Force for N.F.L., Dies at 69


Steve Sabol, who was the creative force behind NFL Films, his father’s innovative enterprise that melded cinematic ingenuity, martial metaphors and symphonic music to lend professional football the aura of myth and help fuel its rise in popularity, died on Tuesday in Moorestown, N.J. He was 69.

In 1960, pro football was the nation’s fourth most popular spectator sport after baseball, college football and boxing. But over the next decade, it rocketed to first place in polls, television ratings and revenue, and NFL Films, begun in 1962, helped propel it. Sports Illustrated called the enterprise “perhaps the most effective propaganda organ in the history of corporate America.”

Although his father, Ed, founded NFL Films, Steve Sabol — the producer, writer, director and cameraman — created the images and sounds it became famous for: a kicked football floating end-over-end or a pigskin bullet spiraling in slow motion; a row of bruised and dirtied gladiators hunkering on the sideline; the crunch of bodies brawling at the line of scrimmage or colliding in the open field.

And overlaying all of it was stirring orchestral music and, for many years, the ringing narration of John Facenda, a former television news anchor in Philadelphia whose rolling bass was called “the voice of God.”

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Posted on September 19, 2012 by Editor

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