New Jersey Senators to introduce resolution honoring NFL Films pioneer Steve Sabol

Senators Diane Allen & Dawn Marie Addiego to Present on Monday

To memorialize one of New Jersey’s most innovative entrepreneurs, Senators Diane Allen and Dawn Marie Addiego (both R-Burlington) announced that they are introducing on Monday a resolution honoring NFL Films pioneer Steve Sabol.

“Steve Sabol inspired the finest cinematic reflection of any sport and left nothing on the field,” Allen said. “His innovative filmmaking documented the intellect, emotion and humanity in America’s most aggressive and popular sport.”

“Steve Sabol’s ingenuity, artistic brilliance and endless commitment to creating history are celebrated across the country and around the world,” Addiego added. “He is a pride of Burlington County whose legacy will surely be continued by NFL Films, with their coverage of this Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII and beyond.”

NFL Films is located in Mount Laurel and has grown over the decades to employ some 250 people and boast the world’s largest sports film library.

“Steve Sabol was a creative genius who changed the way we look at football and sports,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “This is a great honor that I know Steve would proudly share with all of his colleagues at NFL Films headquarters in Mount Laurel.”

Draft text of this Resolution is as follows:

A Joint Resolution designating October 2 of each year as “Steve Sabol Day”

Whereas, Stephen Douglas Sabol was born in Philadelphia on October 2, 1942; and

Whereas, In 1962, Ed Sabol, Steve’s father, convinced the Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), Pete Rozelle, to accept his low bid for the job to film the 1962 NFL championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants; and

Whereas, Immediately after being awarded the contract by the NFL to film the 1962 championship game, Ed Sabol called Steve, 19 at the time, and said, “All you’ve done all your life is play football and go to the movies.  You ought to be able to make some contribution”; and

Whereas, In 1965, after three years of selling the NFL films of its own games, the NFL agreed to purchase the company, which would be run independently by Ed Sabol and his son, Steve, who would be named co-founder of NFL Films; and

Whereas, According to Ed Sabol, Steve was the creative power behind the innovative filming and narration techniques which would become hallmarks of NFL Films for decades to come; and

Whereas, Steve Sabol understood that there existed a certain art and beauty amid the violence of professional football, and believed that, through his films, he had the ability to convey that beauty to the American people; and

Whereas, Steve Sabol integrated a hand held camera on the sidelines to capture intense close-ups, invented the idea of playing classical music during highlights, wrote scripts to be read as narration during the films; and

Whereas, In his film review of the Raiders’ 1974 season, Steve Sabol included a poem now known to generations of football fans, read by the legendary narrator of NFL Films John Facenda, who declared in a bold, booming voice that, “The autumn wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun. He’ll knock you around and upside down and laugh when he’s conquered and won”; and

Whereas, Perhaps most importantly, Steve Sabol convinced players and coaches to wear microphones during games, eternally capturing in their glory legendary figures such as Vince Lombardi, Hank Stram, Al Davis, and John Madden, as well as more modern stars from Bill Parcells; John Elway, and Reggie White, to Peyton Manning and Bill Belichick; and

Whereas, Under Steve Sabol’s direction, NFL Films has also become the definitive historical archive for American football films, with its film vault storing more than 100 million feet of game film, including Thomas Edison’s film of the 1894 college football game between Rutgers and Princeton; and

Whereas, The success NFL Films has had in the sports industry is unparalleled, with the company winning a total of 107 Sports Emmys, with Steve Sabol being personally cited on more than one third of the awards. He is the only person in television to win Emmys for writing, cinematography, editing, directing and producing; and

Whereas, NFL Films has had its headquarters in New Jersey for decades and is currently located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey; and

Whereas, Steve Sabol passed away on September 18, 2012 after a long, courageous battle with brain cancer; and

Whereas, It has been said that while Ed Sabol may have created NFL Films, Steve Sabol defined what it became: the finest cinematic reflection of a sport in absolute totality, consciously designed to amplify an intellectual viewing experience through emotional means; and

Whereas, In honor of a great New Jerseyan, it is fitting and appropriate that the Legislature and Governor commemorate Steve Sabol’s ingenuity, artistic brilliance, and his endless commitment to providing the public with unprecedented access to the most popular sport in the country; now, therefore,

            Be It Resolved by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

            1.  October 2nd of each year is designated “Steve Sabol Day” to honor the widespread impact that New Jerseyan Steve Sabol and his company, NFL Films, has had on generations of American football fans and aspiring filmmakers.

            2.  The Governor is requested to annually issue a proclamation and call upon public officials, private organizations, and all citizens and residents of this State to observe October 2nd with appropriate events and activities.

            3.  This joint resolution shall take effect immediately.


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