PRIOR TO THE introduction to such productions as this one from NFL Films, football recap shows were a very predictable blending of highlights rendered in always the same manner. The format was to cut out as much of the non-action as possible and show the action on the field from the perspective of one long distance camera shot.
ADDED TO THIS cookie cutter production style was some very dry and uninteresting narration that only served to reinforce the obvious of what we were witnessing on the screen. The final ingredient was the use of music. It wasn't ever very imaginative, preferring to go with the marches of John Phillip Sousa.
THIS ALL CHANGED with the vision and imagination of one man. Steve Sabol (1942-2012). The multi talented Renascence man immediately changed the course of sports filming. His wit, love of the game and intelligent approach were matched by his artistic abilities as both a film maker and an illustrator.
WHETHER OR NOT Steve had any musical training was immaterial and definitely unimportant as a highly eclectic mixture of Classical, Neo-classical, Folk, Pop and Jazz filled the soundtracks.* The Football Film now had true life of its own and became a much greater work of art than the sum of its parts would indicate.
THE UNUSUAL COMBINATION of athleticism and artistic abilities came to Steve Sabol quite naturally. It was his own Father, Ed Sabol (1916-2015) who founded NFL Films and brought his son into the fold after Steve's successful career on the gridiron at tiny Colorado College.
AND PLEASE DON'T say that this was a case of nepotism; as both men have certainly proved themselves over the years.
LEST WE FORGET to mention that the series also had a fine cast. The talents of Tom Brookshire, Pat Summerall and Charlie Jones were well showcased and a great asset to the show.
NOTE: * The younger Sabol joined great company in the ranks of those who did very well in he musical field without benefit of training in anything music. The others are: Walt Disney, Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Gleason.
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