Yesterday, I was greeted with the news I've been dreading ever since I learned of Steve Sabol's illness. The legendary NFL Films President passed away at the age of 69. I knew that I wanted to share some personal thoughts on what Sabol and NFL Films has meant to me over the years, and that will come tomorrow. I also wanted to know more about Sabol and what life was like at NFL Films. What was it like to work with the man who changed the American sports landscape in such a profound way?
I was lucky enough to get 15 minutes with Jim Jorden, a producer who joined NFL Films in 1989. Below are some of his fondest memories working with Sabol including why he turned down a pay raise from Art Modell, his awards for spectacular failure, what it's like at NFL Films, and the one thing Vince Lombardi said to Sabol.
Sabol The Boss
"He was very much into improving someone. He was a great people person in that he always made you believe that you could do better. He was a hands on guy. He’d come into your office and watch the rough cuts of your show. Even this last year during Hard Knocks he was sick and wasn't around, the guys put up a sign - WWSD. What Would Steve Do."
Sabol The Innovator
"All of the great ideas that came through NFL Films, those are all his ideas. All of the great innovative things were Steve’s ideas. The follies films, slow motion (the idea came from The Wild Bunch shootout). He was a creative genius."