Sabol learned in March of last year that he had an inoperable brain tumor, but he continued to fight for 18 months before passing away at the age of 69. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network passed along a statement from commissioner Roger Goodell about the news:
Very sad. From Commissioner Goodell: "Deeply saddened to announce Steve Sabol died this morning after his 18 month battle with brain cancer"— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 18, 2012
The Philadelphia native became president of NFL Films after taking the reins from his father, Ed Sabol, whom he inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last summer. The company grew with the league, presenting a different view of the game for fans.
Sabol won a myriad of awards for his work. The report states that includes more than 40 Emmys, which gives a good idea of not only the quality of his efforts, but for how long he had an impact on the way football was presented.
All of the modern-day segments that feature players and coaches mic'd up during games can be traced back to the Sabol family. It truly revolutionized how close people could get to the game and gave a perspective that wasn't previously available.
NFL Films will continue to operate using the ideas brought forth by Sabol, but the company will probably never have another president with the same type of vision for the future. Not to mention a knowledge of what fans are looking for in coverage of the league.
His impact on the league should never be overlooked.