Posted by Neil Paine on February 1, 2011
Continuing our 2011 Hall of Fame finalist polls, let's get some opinions on Ed Sabol -- and, specifically, the role of NFL Films in shaping football's success in the second half of the 20th century.
Since 1964, when Sabol convinced the NFL that it needed its own motion picture company to document games for posterity, NFL Films has marketed pro football in an epic style that clearly resonates with fans. Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune summed up Sabol's influence nicely in an article this week:
"There are only 18 contributors in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Sabol never owned an NFL team or served as commissioner. But that doesn't mean this 94-year-old visionary doesn't deserve to be recognized for his unique contributions since starting NFL Films almost 50 years ago.
'I think NFL Films was as important to the growth and success of the NFL as any one single thing that ever took place,'' says former 49ers owner Ed DeBartolo, who lives in Tampa. 'It put the teams and players in the forefront of fans' minds.'
At some point in the 1960s, pro football vaulted past baseball as America's most popular sport; NFL Films played a pivotal role in that transformation."
Now, for some sample videos... This is 100% classic NFL Films:
And here's a good example of the modern NFL Films style:
So, what do you think? Should Sabol be in the Hall of Fame for his contribution to the NFL's success over the past 50 years?