In 1962, Ed Sabol founded Blair Motion Pictures. Named after his daughter, Blair Motion Pictures began as a small idea enabling Sabol to film his son Steve's high school football games.
With his visionary mindset, Sabol worked for and won a $4,000 bid to film the 1962 NFL Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants.
NFL Films was born.
During the past 49 years, NFL Films has changed the way we view football. Thanks to Sabol, we the viewers have been granted access beyond the stands, inside the lines and into the minds of our favorite Sunday gladiators.
As NFL Films began putting small microphones on players, it gave the common fan a first-person perspective of life on the field and in the helmet. Sabol's concept of "mic'ing up" players was paramount in the transformation of professional football from a national pastime into a cultural phenomenon.
Here are seven of the top mic'd up moments in NFL History.
Number 93 in your program, number seven on your eardrums.
John Randle is one of the greatest defensive tackles in the history of the NFL, and the type of player for whom Sabol's creation fit like a glove.
Randle was energetic, entertaining, hilarious and frightening all at once. Randle was often mic'd up for sound during his career, and his explosive temperament on the field was captured in a slew of some of the great NFL mic'd up moments.
From punching goalposts and shadow-boxing to screaming incoherently, Randle left little idle time on the tape.
For 14 years, Randle was the poster child of a decade that featured players becoming accustomed to the limelight and using that to market and craft their own image.
It's easy to see how intimidating a player like Randle was as he screams, "I can smell ya' Stevie!" Perhaps that's why Steve Young gave it up a little early.
"Mr. President, we need the National Guard, we need as many men as you can send 'cause we are killin' the Patriots."
Shannon Sharpe, never one to shy away from a microphone, gave us a classic moment in 1996, as the Denver Broncos were busy destroying the pre-Tom Brady New England Patriots.
"Take two weeks off, then quit."
Before there was Brett Favre's camera phone, there was just Brett Favre on camera.
Favre has always had the reputation as a guy that "loved the game," and his numerous mic'd up moments indicate a player who was truly in love with his job.
Who can forget his Keith Jackson impersonation? Who can forget Mike Holmgren pleading with Favre, "Please, no more rocket-balls?"
Brett Favre was made for NFL Films.
Beyond the shameless self-promotion and the driveway sit-ups, Terrell Owens has always been a great player and one of the best players to have mic'd up.
"Jerry Rice told me about lookin' SWEET!"
T.O., the alter-ego of some guy named Terrell Owens, shows up on Sunday and the microphones get lit on fire.
Perhaps to Owens' detriment, he's always enjoyed talking as much as playing.
No player is more entertaining, or more incredibly terrifying, than Ray Lewis.
Listening to Lewis wired for sound puts me somewhere between running through a wall and crawling into the fetal position.
The picture of intensity, and the greatest linebacker in NFL history, Lewis is the ultimate motivator and leader.
He only gets knocked out of the top two by a pair of mic'd up innovators.
Before Mike Singletary was an NFL head coach that pantsed himself in the locker room, he was one of the best linebackers in football.
Who can forget the Singletary mic'd up moments?
"We gon' be here all day, baby! I like this kinda party!"
His wide eyes stared quarterbacks into submission, and the intimidating, yet playful words represented a Bears defense that was fully of energy and tenacity.
"65 Toss Power Trap, see what it looks like. 65 Toss Power Trap."
"Mr. Official, let me ask you something. How can all six of you miss a play like that? All six of you!"
"C'mon boys, just keep matriculating the ball down the field, boys."
Hank Stram was the first coach to be wired for sound—during Super Bowl IV—and took full advantage of it. Stram was an offensive innovator and a coach who was just as "hip" on the field as most of his players were off of it during the NFL's burgeoning 1960s.
Stram unknowingly became the poster child for the anti-Tom Landry movement in the league. In an era when most coaches were dictatorial slave drivers, Stram's microphone moments made the case of him being the first true "player's coach" in the modern era of professional football.