Pro Football Hall of Fame: Ed Sabol’s NFL Took On a Life Of Its Own

February 12, 2011   ·     ·   Jump to comments

Before Ed Sabol started documenting it, pro football was archived as newsreel footage, shown in two-minute increments in the movie houses across America.
It was filmed in black and white, always from the same high angle with the camera perched at the 50-yard line.
The images were sterile, the music usually a cheesy version of some college fight song.
During the 1940s and 50s, nothing was compelling about pro football on film. You’d find more drama looking at a fish tank.
Until, that is, a 46-year-old Jewish man from New Jersey came along with 16 millimeter camera. The man was owner of Blair Motion Pictures, a company named after his alma mater, Blair Academy.
Ed Sabol and his camera landed a whopper of a contract in 1962: filming every play of the ’62 NFL Championship Game at Yankee Stadium in New York, pitting the Green Bay Packers against the New York Giants.
Two years later, Blair Motion Pictures became NFL Films.
And just like that, th...

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