Marshall McLuhan declared the medium is the message. In the case of NFL Films, the message became the medium. There has been no greater proselytizer for professional football than NFL Films, whose lenses and lyrical prose created a gridiron gospel that has been drawing fans to the pew for five decades.
Through the eyes of NFL Films, football became more than merely a violent, unforgiving, unpredictable game. It became Shakespearean drama with shoulder pads — theater, not in the round, but in the oblong shape of the ball. Those NFL Films eyes belonged to Steve Sabol, who died Tuesday at age 69, following an 18-month battle with brain cancer, according to the NFL.