By Tom E. Curran
The passing this week of Steve Sabol moved people in all parts of the NFL - owners, coaches, players and the media - to say nothing of what Sabol and his work meant to fans.
I didn't know Steve well but I did speak with him in person or by phone several times. Warm, sincere, interested in listening, and just a deep, intelligent guy whose passion was applied to this game we all love.
In the artist's statement on his website, "Steve Sabol Art", he wrote, "Norman Mailer remarked that all artists tend to be governed by a ruling passion. I regard myself as luck to have been able to discover mine. "
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick - a football historian as well as a decorated coach - trusted Sabol implicitly.
"You cant say enough about Steve and what he has meant tothe National Football League, NFL Films and the game of football," Belichick said on a conference call with the Baltimore media on Wednesday. "I think hehas presented the game in a way that all fans, all of us, enjoy. You can see theexcitement, the entertainment and can laugh at, depending on how its beingpresented. He has done a tremendous job of gaining the trust and confidence ofthe people that he has worked with, which isnt the easiest thing to do, to dowhat he does and get that kind of cooperation.
"I think over the years he hasdeveloped a great level of respect and trust and that says a lot," Belichick added. "I dont thinkthat piece Bill Belichick: A FootballLife would have ever happened without Steve Sabol, to be honest with you.Hes a special man, and he did so much for our game, for the NFL and for thegame of football. Its a sad day. Hes a great man.Belichick granted NFL Films incredible access to do the much-celebrated documentary that was released last year. Normally pretty reserved (to say the least), Belichick explained that, "Once we understood whatwe were doing and everybody was on the same page, we had good lines ofcommunication, so it wasnt really a problem. I think the respect and trust andmutual respect that we had for each other made that a relatively easyundertaking.Sabol made things easy in a difficult line of work