NEW YORK: Ed Sabol, whose visionary filmwork of American football helped revolutionise US television sports, died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 98.
Sabol – a top class swimmer who refused to compete at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin because he said he would not swim in a pool financed by Nazi leader and German Chancellor Adolf Hitler – founded NFL Films in 1964 and during his tenure as a top executive until his 1995 retirement, the company won 52 Emmy Awards for television excellence.
With an exclusive deal to preserve NFL games on film, Sabol helped bring the sport into American living rooms, his highlights packaging featuring sideline comments from players and coaches becoming a staple of coverage in the 1970s as the NFL’s popularity boomed.
Among his innovations were the first microphones on coaches, referees and players; the use of popular and classical music as a background to gridiron action highlights and bloopers videos.
Sabol – who saw military service in World War II – was elected to the American Football Hall of Fame in 2011. His son Steve, who died in 2012 aged 69, followed in his father’s role.–AFP