Tuesday, September 18, 2012

09/19 (Steve Sabol) Quickie

Here's what I think about the late, great Steve Sabol:

I think that he (and his dad, via NFL Films) had more of an impact on sports media -- and, consequently, sports fandom -- than any other single media figure in history.

More than Roone Arledge, whose idea to put the NFL in primetime was revolutionary. More than the ESPN founders. Certainly more than any athlete ever did.

His notion of filming the nascent NFL, then turning his access into an accessibility for fans -- all with a signature style (slow-motion, miked-up coaches, classical music, deep-baritone narrators) -- was revolutionary at the time. Then, uniquely, it stood the test of time.

NFL Films was simultaneously a historical record, a love letter and a gateway drug. It influenced countless fans, filmmakers, players and media.

Sabol leaves as marvelous of a legacy as anyone in sports or media ever has -- just head over to YouTube to enjoy it.

Condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and many many fans.

(Check out some great Sabol rememberances and reactions over at Quickish. The best one I've read is Joe Posnanski's homage to Sabol over at SportsOnEarth.com.)


*Yunel Escobar suspended three games: He seems more sorry he got punished than sorry he might have offended anyone -- otherwise, he wouldn't have done it in the first place.

*Ronaldo > Man City: That was pretty exciting.

*NFL vs. Refs: If you think things are coming to a head, you would be mis-reading the situation -- fans are not turning away from the game; they are watching it in ever-greater numbers. There is zero incentive for the NFL to settle, beyond the probabilistic analysis that with every game that goes by, they run the risk of some kind of epic failure by a replacement official that might actually dent the NFL brand. Even then, fans will still watch in ever-greater numbers. I suspect the real refs are ready to settle as soon as the NFL is willing to let them.

*Quote of the Day: "Maybe we don't call them student-athletes any longer and just refer to them as students." (Lead NCAA policy advisor in a memo to new incoming NCAA president Mark Emmert)

-- D.S.

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