Years ago, when Rykodisc was in the midst of releasing the David Bowie catalog on CD, one of the ads announcing the re-release of the "the Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" had this copy:
Whether you know it or not, this album changed your life
The same can be applied to Ed Sabol, the founder of NFL Films, who passed away yesterday at the age of 98.
Whether you know it or not, Ed Sabol changed your life
Big Ed was instrumental is making the NFL the most popular sports league in the US with his army of cinematographers, producers and directors. And in so doing, he revolutionized sports television across the world. Football and beyond.
Back in the 60's Ed took the financial risk of capturing NFL games with slow motion cinematography. Slomo eats up a lot of film. A lot of it. But the results are spectacular, as knew they would be.
All those slomos, super slomos, X-mos, and phantom cam shots that we love - thank Ed Sabol.
Slomos were an important piece, add to it mics on players and coaches, rousing musical scores, innovative film angles, terrific narrative, and on and on and on. Thank Ed Sabol.
Big Ed pioneered a lot of the aspects of a live television sports broadcast that we now take for granted. But what influenced me, and countless others, was the story-telling, the mythologizing. I wanted to tell stories when I grew up and got lucky enough to do so.
Unfortunately, FIFA did not accept NFL FIlms' bid to chronicle the 1994 World Cup. They balked at the price. It is a shame, because as Big Ed told it, "quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten."
He changed my life. He changed yours too. Whether you knew it or not.