Edwin Milton Sabol (September 11, 1916 – February 9, 2015) was an American filmmaker and the founder (with his son Steve Sabol, among others) of NFL Films. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011 as a contributor due to his works with NFL Films.

Ed Sabol
Edwin Milton Sabol

(1916-09-11)September 11, 1916
DiedFebruary 9, 2015(2015-02-09) (aged 98)
Alma materOhio State University
OccupationFounder of NFL Films
SpouseAudrey Sabol
ChildrenSteve Sabol
AwardsAwards and honors

Early life, education, and career


Sabol was born to a Jewish[1] mother and Romanian father in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1916 and raised in Blairstown, New Jersey.[2][3] While attending Blair Academy, he excelled in several sports, and set a World Interscholastic Swimming record in the 100-yard freestyle race.[4] He continued his noted swimming career at Ohio State University. He was selected for the 1936 Olympic team but refused to participate because of the games being held in Nazi Germany.[1] He had some success in the theater as an actor, appearing on Broadway for the production of Where Do We Go from Here.[4] He served in World War II, and upon returning to civilian life, worked as a clothing salesman out of his father-in-law's factory.[5]

NFL Films


Sabol founded Blair Motion Pictures in 1962. Its first major contract was to film the 1962 NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers at Yankee Stadium in New York. In 1964, Blair Motion Pictures became NFL Films, with an exclusive deal to preserve NFL games on film. It has been said by his son Steve Sabol, of NFL Films, "The only other human endeavor more thoroughly captured on 16-mm film than the National Football League is World War II."[5] In 1995, he officially retired from NFL Films in his role as President and chairman.[4] In 1996, he was elected to the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[1]

On February 5, 2011, Sabol was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.[6]



Sabol died on February 9, 2015, at his home in Arizona.[7]

Awards and honors

  • 1935: World Interscholastic Record holder, 100-yard freestyle swimming[4]
  • 1937: Big Ten championship, 400-yard freestyle relay swimming[4]
  • 1937: National AAU championship, 400-yard freestyle relay swimming[4]
  • 91 Emmy Awards (to NFL Films)[4]
  • 1987: Order of the Leather Helmet (presented by the NFL Alumni Association)[1]
  • 1987: Bert Bell Memorial Award (presented by the NFL)[1]
  • 1991: Pete Rozelle Award (presented by the NFL)[1]
  • 1996: International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame[1]
  • 2003: Lifetime Achievement Emmy[4]
  • 2004: John Grierson International Gold Medal[8]
  • 2011: Pro Football Hall of Fame[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame entry for Ed Sabol". Retrieved February 19, 2007.
  2. ^ Schudel, Matt; Shapiro, Leonard (February 9, 2015). "Ed Sabol, founder of NFL Films, dies at 98". Washington Post. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  3. ^ "Producer Notes". CNBC. June 24, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Rollet, Ron. "Ed Sabol Bio". Cape May New Jersey State Film Festival. Archived from the original on March 25, 2007. Retrieved February 19, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "NFL Films, Inc.: Father-Son Team Establishes Gold Standard For Sports Photography". CBSnews.com. August 25, 2004. Retrieved February 19, 2007.
  6. ^ Pro Football Hall of Fame, Finalists
  7. ^ "NFL Films founder Ed Sabol dies". ESPN. February 9, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  8. ^ D'Amato, Sally-Ann (October 11, 2004). "SMPTE Announces Award Recipients for Contributions to Motion Imaging Technology". Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. Archived from the original on September 27, 2006. Retrieved February 19, 2007.
  9. ^ "Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 Announced". Pro Football Hall of Fame. February 5, 2011. Archived from the original on February 9, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2011.