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Ed Sabol

Ed Sabol
Born Edwin Milton Sabol
(1916-09-11)September 11, 1916
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Died February 9, 2015(2015-02-09) (aged 98)
Scottsdale, Arizona
Alma mater Ohio State University
Occupation founder of NFL Films
Awards Awards and honors

Edwin Milton "Ed" Sabol (September 11, 1916 – February 9, 2015) was an American filmmaker and the founder (with his son Steve Sabol, among others) of NFL Films. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011 as a contributor due to his works with NFL Films. He was married to his wife Audrey, with a daughter, Blair; and grandson, Casey by his son Steve who died on September 18, 2012.[1]


Early life, education, and career

Sabol was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1916 and raised in Blairstown, New Jersey.[2] While attending Blair Academy, he excelled in several sports, and set a World Interscholastic Swimming record in the 100-yard freestyle race.[3] He continued his noted swimming career at Ohio State University. He was selected for the 1936 Olympic team but refused to participate because of the games' connections to Nazi Germany.[4] He had some success in the theater as an actor, appearing on Broadway for the production of Where Do We Go from Here.[3] He served in World War II, and upon returning to civilian life, worked as a clothing salesman out of his father-in-law's factory.[5]

NFL Films

Sabol founded Blair Motion Pictures in 1962. Its first major contract was to film the 1962 NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers at Yankee Stadium in New York. In 1964, Blair Motion Pictures became NFL Films, with an exclusive deal to preserve NFL games on film. It has been said by his son Steve Sabol, of NFL Films, "The only other human endeavor more thoroughly captured on 16-mm film than the National Football League is World War II."[5] In 1995, he officially retired from NFL Films in his role as President and chairman.[3] In 1996, he was elected to the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[4]

On February 5, 2011, Sabol was elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.[6]


Sabol died on February 9, 2015, at his home in Arizona.[7]

Awards and honors

  • 1935 World Interscholastic Record holder, 100-yard freestyle swimming[3]
  • 1937 Big Ten championship, 400-yard freestyle relay swimming[3]
  • 1937 National AAU championship, 400-yard freestyle relay swimming[3]
  • 91 Emmy Awards (to NFL Films)[3]
  • 1987 Order of the Leather Helmet (presented by the NFL Alumni Association)[4]
  • 1987 Bert Bell Memorial Award (presented by the NFL)[4]
  • 1991 Pete Rozelle Award (presented by the NFL)[4]
  • 1996 International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame[4]
  • 2003 Lifetime Achievement Emmy[3]
  • 2004 John Grierson International Gold Medal[8]
  • 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame[9]


  1. ^ Bill Lyon: Remembering NFL Films' Steve Sabol by Bill Lyon, Philadelphia Inquirer, September 23, 2012.
  2. ^ Schudel, Matt; Shapiro, Leonard (February 9, 2015). "Ed Sabol, founder of NFL Films, dies at 98". Washington Post. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Rollet, Ron. "Ed Sabol Bio". Cape May New Jersey State Film Festival. Retrieved February 19, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame entry for Ed Sabol". Retrieved February 19, 2007. 
  5. ^ a b "NFL Films, Inc.: Father-Son Team Establishes Gold Standard For Sports Photography". August 25, 2004. Retrieved February 19, 2007. 
  6. ^ Pro Football Hall of Fame, Finalists
  7. ^ "NFL Films founder Ed Sabol dies". ESPN. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  8. ^ D'Amato, Sally-Ann (October 11, 2004). "SMPTE Announces Award Recipients for Contributions to Motion Imaging Technology". Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. Archived from the original on September 27, 2006. Retrieved February 19, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 Announced". Pro Football Hall of Fame. February 5, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2011. 

External links

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