Tag:Ed Sabol
Posted on: October 6, 2011 12:29 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

It's time for a biography on Ed Sabol and his son, Steve. (US Preswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With the controversy surrounding the new Walter Payton biography, written by Jeff Pearlman, I got to thinking about the other books we need to read but that haven’t been written yet. I’m not talking about a season in the life book of the 2010 Packers or the latest words written by Mike Ditka (at least five authored or co-authored by the Bears coaching icon), but about subjects we don’t really know and on topics we would love to explore.

For this Top Ten List with a Twist, I’m discounting what a publisher might say if he/she was presented with some of these ideas (namely, the idea that blah, blah, blah won’t sell or that nobody has ever heard of blah, blah, blah). Some of these ideas, no doubt, would work, and maybe, one day, you’ll see one of them on the shelf of your nearest book store in the cart of your Amazon.com page.

Without further ado, here are the Top Ten books we absolutely deserve to read.  

10. The inside story on the NFL lockout: Yeah, maybe many football fans wouldn’t care about a book like this, because they only wanted the work stoppage to end as soon as possible so they could continue to watch the game they love, but I bet it would be fascinating. What is the relationship between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith really like? How were the compromises finally reached? Did Jerry Jones really tap his fists together and walk out of a negotiation session to make a point? For those  who reported and analyzed the entire ordeal, it would be a mind-churning look from behind the curtain.

9. Bill Belichick end-of-career autobiography: Although he almost always comes off completely uninteresting during his midweek and postgame press conferences -- hell, he eats his lunch during teleconference calls with the media! -- the recent NFL Network documentary showed that he’s an interesting dude. The fact he got a little emotional during a trip to the Meadowlands was almost shocking, and I’ve seen interviews with him before that are really, really good. If he let down his guard, like during that documentary, his autobiography would be a fascinating study of the best coach in football. There have been big-name authors who have written big-name books about Belichick, but when his career is over, I want him reflecting on the impact he’s made and the reason he did it all the first place.

8. A biography on Tom Brady’s hair: We’ve already had the obituary for Brady’s shorn locks. Next, we should have a book that tells the tale of the entire two-year history of the hair that helped Brady land that lucrative Uggs endorsement.

7. Sid Gillman biography: Gillman is the most important coach you might not remember. Unlike Paul Brown (who has a stadium named after him and a legacy in Cincinnati) or Vince Lombardi (who you might have heard a little something about) or Woody Hayes (a decent-enough coach at Ohio State) -- all of whom were Gillman contemporaries -- Gillman has fallen through the cracks of history. And considering, he’s the father of the modern passing offense, that’s a shame.

Rex and Rob Ryan (US Presswire)6. Rob/Rex Ryan quote book: This could even be made into one of those peel-a-page-every-day calendars, like the Jeff Foxworthy redneck gags or the best of the old Far Side comic strips. But if you like to laugh (or just shake your head), this book would be a big seller. You could have Rex talking about not wanting to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings or Rob discussing how Calvin Johnson would be the Cowboys No. 3 receiver behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. See what I mean? It’d be high hilarity.

5. Bryant McKinnie in the Blind Side, part II: Since McKinnie was the one to replace Michael Oher as the Ravens left tackle, McKinnie should have his own Michael Lewis-penned biography. I’m pretty sure McKinnie didn’t live in foster homes and on the streets before he was adopted, like Oher, but McKinnie has had struggles with his weight and he did (allegedly) spend $100,000 on a bar tab this offseason. It’s not as heartwarming as the Oher book, but a tome about McKinnie would be pretty fun.

4. The early struggles of black players: You know all about Jackie Robinson in major league baseball, but if I asked you who the broke the color barrier in the NFL, you probably wouldn’t have any idea. Hell, I read a long article about the NFL’s integration the other day, and I couldn’t tell you the guy’s name*. But this is an important -- and somewhat complicated -- history. Black players participated in pro football at the turn of the 20th century, and they also were part of teams in various professional leagues until the NFL stopped signing them in the early 1930s. It would be an interesting look at an era that, just like much of society, was decidedly unfair for anybody who wasn’t white.

*After blacks were excluded from the league in 1933, Kenny Washington was the one to break the barrier in 1946, one year before Robinson did it in baseball.

3. A Cam Newton investigation: Don’t we deserve to know who Newton’s bag man is or if there was a bag man at all? Not that it would make any difference in his pro career, but don’t you want to know if Newton’s father really demanded $180,000 from Mississippi State for Newton’s service? Maybe Auburn fans wouldn’t, but I certainly would.

2. NFL Films biography: People underestimate the importance of Ed and Steve Sabol. Proof of that was that it took so long for Ed to earn his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But the NFL -- and the NFL fans -- owe them a huge debt of gratitude, because the way you watch football today might not be possible if NFL Films hadn’t been created on the backs of the Sabol’s in the 1960s. I want to know how it started, the obstacles they faced in the early years and the impact the company has made to this day. It’s a book the Sabol’s deserve to have written.

1. An investigation into the rise of CTE: There have been a few journalists (the Newark Star Ledger’s Jerry Izenberg and the New York Times’ Alan Schwarz are two who come to mind) who do fine work keeping watch on the NFL’s relationship and response to the rise of head injuries that continue to devastate retired players and keep us reminded about what a brutal game football is to those who play it for your enjoyment. But from the premature death of Steelers legend Mike Webster to the shock of what Chris Henry’s brain looked like during his autopsy, from the suicide of Dave Duerson to the continued work of those who track of the rise of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, this is a book that needs to be written. And the sooner, the better.

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Posted on: August 6, 2011 11:17 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2011 2:59 pm

2011 Hall of Fame induction poignant, emotional

Posted by Ryan Wilson

                                                             Ed Sabol | Richard Dent (photos) | Chris Hanburger 
                         Shannon Sharpe (photos) | Marshall Faulk (photos) | Les Richter | Deion Sanders (photos)
                           Pro Football Hall of Fame: Class of 2011
 | Hall of Fame photos | More Hall of Fame news

The 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame weekend may have been without an actual NFL game (the Bears and Rams were scheduled to play before the lockout dragged into July and led to its cancellation), but the induction ceremony wasn't without poignant moments, raw emotion, and inspiration.

Seven members were a part of the 2011 class: 

Ed Sabol. Ninety-four years old, Sabol gave his acceptance speech from a wheelchair while sounding every bit as lucid and spry as he appeared in possibly one of the best Hall of Fame introduction videos ever. Sabol's son, Steve, who is battling brain tumors, presented Ed for introduction.

"I've dreamt the impossible dream and I'm living it right now," Sabol said Saturday night. "This honor tonight really goes to NFL Films. I just happen to be accepting all the accolades. … I just want to say one thing: I've been very, very happy to have been your boss for all these years. You're a great bunch of people, dedicated, hard-working and loyal, and the reason I'm sitting up here."

Richard Dent. The former Tennessee State University player was an integral part of the 1985 Chicago Bears defense, one of the best defenses in modern NFL history. And Saturday, he becomes the third member of that unit to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Dent, who had to wait seven years for this day, joins Dan Hampton and Mike Singletary.

"I grew up in a town where a man said 'I have a dream.' … As a kid growing up at that time, listening to [Martin Luther King], all I could do was dream," said Dent Saturday night. "… Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be here."

Chris Hanburger. With his North Carolina drawl and dry wit, Hanburger's speech was as much a stand-up set as it was an acceptance speech. And by the end of the night, Deion Sanders called Hanburger, who Sanders hadn't met before the weekend, a friend, saying "I love you, man."

As for his career, Hanburger played all 14 years with the Washington Redskins, and he was the original cerebral NFL linebacker. He was an 18th-round selection in 1965 who ended up a nine-time Pro Bowler, four times a first-team All Pro, and an eight-time first team All Conference selection.

"It's been a tremendous thrill for me," Hanburger said Saturday. "… I've never had a chance to meet members of the Hall of Fame like this. It's a great honor. ... This is one of the greatest moments of my life and I mean that from my heart."

Shannon Sharpe. Twitter was abuzz, even as Sharpe was still on stage, calling his speech (see it here) one of the best in Hall of Fame history, surpassing the impassioned words Michael Irvin just years before.

Sharpe spoke about mostly about his family and their role in his journey.

“Sterling was supposed to be in the Hall first," Shannon said Friday. "I was supposed to introduce him for his speech, for his introduction and then take his bronze bust into the Hall. But now we’re going in together. I’m taking him in with me. … I’ve always wanted to be like him. …

"I'm here today for a lot of reasons," Shannon contineued. "… Some have absolutely nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the kindness and patience of all the people who guided me through my life."

Marshall Faulk. The San Diego State star revolutionized the running back position during his 12-year NFL career. After five seasons in Indianapolis where he never averaged more than 4.1 yards per carry, Faulk teamed up with Dick Vermeil and Mike Martz in St. Louis and became an integral part of the "Greatest Show on Turf." In his first three years with the Rams, Faulk averaged 5.4 yards per carry, in addition to more than 1,600 receiving yards over that time. He ended his career with 12,279 yards rushing, 6,875 yards receiving and 136 touchdowns.

"This is pretty special -- this right here, these guys … I'm glad to be a part of it," Faulk said. "I want to thank God. And I want to thank God because this is football heaven."

Les Richter passed away in June 2010, but his legacy as a hard-hitting, game-defining player remains. At 6-3, 240 pounds, he was one of the most physical linebackers in the league during his nine-year career that began with the the Los Angeles Rams in 1954.

“It always puzzled me why Les was not in the Hall of Fame," said Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, who played against Richter in high school, college and the NFL. "He was a great, great player. I don’t know any linebacker in that era who even compares to him.”

Deion Sanders. In the second-most emotional speech of the night, Sanders was funny, poignant and passionate.

Deion is widely considered the best cover cornerback in NFL history and his first-ballot enshrinement is a testament to his effect on the position and the game during a 14-year career.

"I appreciate this game so much," Sanders said Saturday. "...This game taught me so much about people, about focus, about sacrifice."

Sanders also addressed the doubters who said he wasn't much of a tackler during his NFL career.

"Some of my critics say, 'You know, Prime didn't tackle.' I want to respond to that publicly, because that affects me, that bothers me. …Since 1989 I've tackled every bill my mama has every given me. Haven't missed one. The next time they say 'Prime didn't tackle.' Let them know 'Yes he did.'"

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Posted on: August 6, 2011 7:53 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2011 8:13 pm

Ed Sabol: 2011 Hall of Fame Class

Posted by Ryan Wilson

"He's a legend, what he brought to the table, what he brought to the game. Still to this day, NFL Films plays a major role in shaping our thought process of the game of football, and allowing you to get a closer glimpse of each player and team, coaches." - Deion Sanders on Ed Sabol

"My dad has a great expression. He always says, 'Tell me a fact and I'll learn, tell me the truth and I believe, but tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever.' Interestingly enough now, my dad's story is going to be in Canton and hopefully that will live forever, too." - Steve Sabol

                           Pro Football Hall of Fame: Class of 2011
 | Hall of Fame photos | More Hall of Fame news

Ed Sabol has never played in an NFL game but he has everything to do with the current success the league enjoys. He founded Blair Motion Pictures in 1962 (it would become NFL Films in 1964). He went on to win 91 Emmy's and NFL Films is still the gold standard when it comes football and film-making.

"I've dreamt the impossible dream and I'm living it right now," Sabol said Saturday night. "This honor tonight really goes to NFL Films. I just happen to be accepting all the accolades. … I just want to say one thing: I've been very, very happy to have been your boss for all these years. You're a great bunch of people, dedicated, hard-working and loyal, and the reason I'm sitting up here."

After Sabol ended his speech, NFL Network's Rich Eisen summed it up best: "How awesome was that?" 

According to NFL.com, Sabol first put a microphone on a player and coach during a game in 1965. The most famous was putting a microphone on Chiefs coach Hank Stram in Super Bowl IV, where the Hall of Fame coach could be heard telling his team to "Just keep matriculatin' the ball down the field, boys."

Sabol, 94, remains one of the most revered figures in the league. During Friday's enshrinement dinner, the Canton Repository reports that, "When Sabol — the man whose creation, NFL Films, helped skyrocket pro football into the popularity stratosphere — struggled to get to his feet when introduced, the discomfort showing on his face. Helped by his son and presenter, Steve, in his own battle against brain tumors, the elder Sabol eventually stood, drawing a loud ovation from the thousands in the Civic Center."

Son Steve presented his father for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Posted on: August 6, 2011 5:23 pm

Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction live chat

Posted by Ryan Wilson

There may not be a Hall of Fame game this year but there's still the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. And we're covering it live. So feel free to join us to talk about the inductees, who should've been donning a sweet canary yellow jacket tonight, or just to relive some of your favorite Shannon Sharpe quotes from over the years.

                           Pro Football Hall of Fame: Class of 2011
 | Hall of Fame photos | More Hall of Fame news

The fun starts around 6:15 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: April 18, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 10:12 am

Sabol trying to make it to father's HOF induction

Steve Sabol is trying to stay positive during treatment for a brain tumor (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King caught up with NFL Films’ Steve Sabol in his latest edition of Monday Morning Quarterback, and the opening scene is a touching moment when Sabol bear-hugs King and thanks him – and his readers – for all their support while he undergoes treatment for a brain tumor.

It reads like an emotional moment, but not of sadness. Perhaps of hope, because for now, Sabol seems positive – even though it’s unclear what his future holds.

A brief moment from King’s story:

"I've got to ask you something morbid,'' I said.

"Good!'' he said. "Ask me anything!''

"What's the prognosis?'' I said. "Are you going to make it?''

"I don't know,'' he said. "I haven't asked. I don't want to know.''

But he did tell one of his doctors he had to make it until August, when the Pro Football Hall of Fame will induct his father, Ed, the founder of NFL Films. "You'll make it,'' the doc said. Talk about buoying Steve Sabol's spirits.

Some great stuff in the MMQB about heaven and about how Sabol’s life has pretty much been exactly that. Give it a read.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 7, 2011 10:18 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 1:29 am

Steve Sabol hospitalized, in stable condition

Posted by Will Brinson

Scary news out of Kansas City: NFL Films president Steve Sabol was hospitalized Monday night, according to the NFL.

Sabol, 68, was in Kansas City at the 101 Awards to accept the Lamar Hunt Award on behalf of NFL Films when, according to NFL.com, he suffered a seizure.

He was "taken to a hospital, underwent a series of tests over the weekend and was awake and alert Monday." There is some slightly good news, however: according to multiple reports, Sabol is now listed in "stable" condition.

Sabol is, for many people in a younger generation of football fans, almost the "voice of football." While he doesn't necessarily announce games, much of the game's history is narrated with his rich, distinctive voice.

His father, Ed, was recently selected for the NFL Hall of Fame and founded NFL Films.

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Posted on: February 5, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 7:48 pm

2011 NFL Hall of Fame induction class

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- The 2011 NFL Hall of Fame induction took place on Saturday night in downtown Dallas and Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe, Ed Sabol, Les Richter, Chris Hanburger and Ed Sabol were selected as the seven members of this year's class.

Faulk, the versatile backfield threat for the Rams and Colts, and Sanders, an all-time great kick returns, cornerback and all-out athlete were the only first-time candidates for the Hall who were inducted.

Dent, the Bears all-time sack leader and MVP of Super Bowl XX, was the 27th player for Chicago to be enshrined, the most of any NFL team.

Sabol, the founder of NFL Films and one of the architects of the modern-day NFL image, was considered a controversial figure because of concerns with non-players. Apparently, the clear-cut popularity of the NFL -- amid the possibility of a labor lockout no less -- made up for any of those concerns.

Hanburger, a nine-time Pro Bowler for the Redskins, made the cut after his 28th year of eligibility. Oddly enough, "Hangman" made the cut in a season in which the NFL truly preached player safety, despite being known for some questionable "tackling techniques."

Richter was an eight-time Pro Bowler (consecutively, no less) for the Los Angeles Rams in the 1950's and 60's.

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Posted on: December 1, 2010 12:19 am

Top Ten With a Twist: Not yet HOFers

Fireworks fly during the 2010 Pro Football HOF induction ceremony (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Pro Football Hall of Fame this past Sunday released the names of the 26 semifinalists that could be inducted into the HOF for 2011. Most of the names you know. You’ve watched them play. You’ve watched them win. You’ve watched them etch out fantastic careers.

Last year, you knew guys like Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith were going to make their way into the HOF in their first years of eligibility. These players were some of the best of all time. It was no contest.

But each year, there are certain players or coaches or executives that are left out who deserve to enter the hallowed halls of the … well … Hall. This Top Ten With a Twist isn’t about the players you know who full well will be inducted into next year’s induction class, minus Prime Time. These are the guys who might not, but who probably should be.

10. George Young, executive: I wonder if Young’s enshrinement has been held off because his skills had declined noticeably late in his career (ie. when free agency was introduced to the game in the early 1990s). But there’s no denying that Young was the NFL executive of the year five times and the teams he worked for won three conference titles and one Super Bowl title. For an executive, he was pretty damn important.

9. Jerry Kramer, OG, Packers (1958-68): While he was a very good player in his day – as the three Pro Bowls, five All-Pro selections and the oodles of championships attest – he did the world a favor when he wrote Instant Replay in 1967, giving fans an inside look at what occurs during an NFL season and at coach Vince Lombardi. No, it’s no Ball Four by Jim Bouton (that guy never could get in baseball’s HOF, by the way), but Kramer’s impact on how the fans view the game is an important piece of the NFL’s history.

8. Steve Tasker, WR/ST, Oilers (1985-86), Bills (1986-97): During his 14-year career, Tasker started a total of 15 games. He never had more than 21 catches in a season, and he caught nine touchdown passes. But the fact he’s perhaps the best special teams player ever to compete in the NFL should give him a path to the HOF. He was a 5-foot-9, 180-pound gunner, and he was fast and lethal. He went to the Pro Bowl seven times, and he was named the MVP of the Pro Bowl in 1993. He didn’t make it to the semifinals this year, but that’s not surprising. Special teamers are not given their just due (see No. 1).

7. Andre Reed, WR, Bills (1985-99), Redskins (2000): Reed has gotten caught up in the WR numbers game. He’s been eligible at the same time as Michael Irvin, Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Art Monk and Cris Carter, and I can see why it’d be tough to select Reed instead of those kinds of receivers. But you have to remember that Reed ranks ninth in career receptions all time and 11th in receiving yards. At some point, he deserves to be enshrined in Canton. Don’t expect it to happen this year, though.

6. Dermontti Dawson, C, Steelers (1988-2000): Simply put, he’s one of the greatest centers of all time. He made the Pro Bowl seven-straight seasons, and with his athletic ability and his knack for getting out in open space and making key blocks for his running backs, he changed the perception of what a center should be. He’ll probably become a finalist for the second time in as many years. One of these days, he should get the welcoming phone call.

5. Cris Carter, WR, Eagles (1987-89), Vikings (1990-2001), Dolphins (2002): Much like Reed, Carter is overshadowed by other receivers. He finished his career as the No. 2 WR (behind Jerry Rice) in receptions and touchdowns. He’s been passed by Marvin Harrison on the receptions list and by Randy Moss and Terrell Owens on the touchdowns list since he retired, but at some point, Carter should be in. It’s actually a little surprising that he’s not in already.

4. Don Coryell, coach: Yes, he wasn’t the originator of today’s modern offense – that’d be a combination of Sid Gillman, Paul Brown and various others – but his Air Coryell teams in the late 1970s to mid 1980s with the Chargers helped innovate the passing game we still see today. He’s already a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Now, it’s time for him to join Gillman as the only two coaches to be enshrined in the college and the pro Halls of Fame.

3. Deion Sanders, CB/PR, Falcons (1989-93), 49ers (1994), Cowboys (1995-99), Redskins (2000), Ravens (2004-05) : The reasons why are obvious. Just look at the video below. This is his first year eligible, and there’s little chance he won’t make it in immediately.

2. Ed Sabol, contributor: Enjoy watching NFL Films productions? You like watching the behind-the-scenes spots of the players woofing at each other on the sidelines and your favorite coach’s pregame and postgame speeches? If yes, you can thank Sabol, who helped found NFL Films in the mid-1960s. How differently would we view – and think about – the NFL if Sabol hadn’t been such a visionay? That’s unanswerable of course, but the fact NFL Films plays a big role in an NFL’s viewing experience makes Sabol HOF worthy.

1. Ray Guy, P, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (1973-86): Simply put, Guy is the greatest punter in the history of the game. But there are no kickers enshrined in the HOF. That must mean they’re less important than anybody else, right? Well, we all know that’s not true. It’s time to get Guy into the Hall. He deserves it.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com