Armen Keteyian takes viewers inside NFL Films to talk to the Sabol family about the legacy of the late Steve Sabol
The man who founded NFL Films, whose groundbreaking highlight reels of the game's greatest plays and the players earned him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, believes he and other non-players do not deserve enshrinement in the Hall. That's what "Big" Ed Sabol tells Armen Keteyian on the next "60 Minutes Sports" premiering Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 10 p.m. on SHOWTIME.
"60 Minutes Sports" immediately follows the season finale of the Emmy-Award winning "Inside The NFL" (9 p.m.), which features NFL Films' renowned highlights and exclusive on-field audio from Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
The Sabol interview appears in the "60 Minutes Sports" story about the production company he founded with his son, the late Steve Sabol, that revolutionized the way television sports are produced. NFL Films was so integral to the promotion and growth of the NFL, that Sabol was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
"I didn't give a damn about the Hall of Fame," says Sabol of his 2011 honor. "I don't think that anybody that didn't play the game should be in the Hall of Fame. ... And you got a lot of men in there because of their politics, because they're owners, they're in the Hall of Fame."
The 96-year-old patriarch of NFL Films thinks owners are important, just not Hall of Fame material. "What the hell did they do for football? Supply the money. Very important, but not the Hall of Fame," Sabol tells Keteyian.
Sabol founded NFL Films in 1960 using skills he discovered using a small movie camera he sent away for in a catalog. The WWII vet and former Ohio State athlete began filming his family's everyday life, including son Steve's football games in the mid-1950s. That led to Ed bringing his son into a ground-floor business that today is a company with 400 employees located in New Jersey.
Filming the gritty competition on the field and along the sidelines, often orchestrated with dramatic music, Ed and Steve Sabol pioneered sports film production, showing a new medium how to capture the sights and sounds of sports. When Ed retired 17 years ago, Steve led the organization in new directions. After Steve died last fall, the Sabol family agreed to talk about his life and legacy for what they say will be the last time. Keteyian also speaks with Audrey Sabol, Steve's mother, and to Blair Sabol, his sister, to get the inside story of one of the NFL's most valuable assets.
Also in Wednesday's NFL-themed program, Keteyian and "60 Minutes Sports" cameras had unprecedented access to the Superdome—including the only cameras in the NFL control room when the lights went out—for a segment detailing how organizers pull together the Super Bowl. Keteyian's report illuminates the level of planning and resources it takes to execute an event of this magnitude. "60 Minutes Sports" was granted unprecedented access to all the people and events that together build what has come to be America's biggest party.
As the Super Bowl continues to grow year after year, a supporting cast of more than 20,000 people and several years of planning is needed for each NFL season's ultimate event. From security to party planners, from broadcasting crews to the people in charge of the big halftime show, each cog is essential to the success of the largest food, drink, sports and entertainment event on earth. "60 Minutes Sports" captures it all in a way never seen before.