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Steve Sabol's Quotes

Steve Sabol profile photo

Born: 1942-10-02
Profession: Director
Nation: American
Biography of Steve Sabol

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NFL Films has had one continuous, creative vision for 47 years. These are timeless things; timeless stories that we capture just like people go back and read Greek mythology.

Tags: Creative, Read, Vision

So they talk about heaven, and I don't know what is waiting for me up there. But I can tell you this: Nothing will happen up there that can duplicate my life down here. Nothing. That life cannot be better than the one I've lived down here, the football life. It's been perfect.

Tags: Football, Life, Waiting

There have been nine Super Bowls in New Orleans, and not all of them have brought the best of luck to NFL Films. We got robbed twice there, got food poisoning, and my hotel room was broken into on the day the Bears played the Patriots in January 1986.

Tags: Best, Broken, Food

To me, football is very personal. Even as a kid, I looked at football in dramaturgical terms. It wasn't the score that interested me, it was the struggle.

Tags: Football, Personal, Struggle

We see the game as art as much as sport. That helped us nurture not only the game's traditions but to develop its mythology: America's Team, The Catch, The Frozen Tundra.

Tags: America, Art, Game

We would get 20 different angles and then cut them all together. That's what I called it at the time - the 'cubistic' treatment of shooting football. It was the same thing Picasso did except we did it with a football play. It's taking a single image and looking at it from multiple perspectives.

Tags: Football, Single, Time

When we started in the early '60s, football had a little bit of a tradition. But, they didn't have a mythology. And NFL Films, through our music and our scripts and our photography, created a mythology for the sport.

Tags: Football, Music, Started

When we started NFL Films, there were no focus groups, there were no demographic studies, there were no surveys. Every decision that we made, we made with our hearts, not with our heads. And, in the very beginning, we really didn't even have a business plan.

Tags: Business, Decision, Focus

You know how I came up with the name 'Road to the Super Bowl?' It's an homage to the old Bob Hope - Bing Crosby buddy movies - you know, like 'Road to Zanzibar' or 'Road to Morocco.' Can you tell? All I've done my whole life is go to movies.

Tags: Hope, Life, Movies

The autumn wind is a pirate. Blustering in from sea with a rollicking song he sweeps along swaggering boisterously. His face is weather beaten, he wears a hooded sash with a silver hat about his head... The autumn wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun.

Tags: Fun, Sea, Weather

Look at a football field. It looks like a big movie screen. This is theatre. Football combines the strategy of chess. It's part ballet. It's part battleground, part playground. We clarify, amplify and glorify the game with our footage, the narration and that music, and in the end create an inspirational piece of footage.

Tags: End, Game, Music

When my father bid $5,000 for the 1962 Championship Game, that was a huge amount. It was double the bid the year before. Pete Rozelle was flabbergasted. Who was this guy who was willing to spend so much money on what seemed like relatively worthless rights to the NFL Championship Game?

Tags: Father, Game, Money

Football is a sport of emotions, and we have to capture that in our films.

Tags: Emotions, Films, Football

Football is such a great game, but football players are so dull.

Tags: Football, Game, Great

How about that? You can hear NFL Films music on everything from 'SpongeBob SquarePants' to 'Deep Throat.'

Tags: Deep, Hear, Music

I always was fascinated by neat nicknames.

Tags: Fascinated, Neat, Nicknames

I blew the college boards, and to ease the snub from Harvard made a tour of Europe.

Tags: College, Europe, Tour

I don't go to games as much as I used to because of the NFL's Sunday Ticket. So I'll watch the games, take notes.

Tags: Games, Sunday, Used

I think in the NFL knowledge is power, and you try to get the knowledge by whatever means.

Tags: Knowledge, Power, Try

I was kicked out of school one year for streaking.

Tags: Kicked, School, Year

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's not being noticed.

Tags: Noticed, Stand

The importance of an artist is bringing new signs into a language.

Tags: Artist, Importance, Language

The only other human endeavor on which there's more 16-millimeter film than pro football is World War II, and we're going to pass that in 2013.

Tags: Football, Human, War

A perfect record does not mean that someone is the greatest. Rocky Marciano never lost a fight, but I never hear anyone say he's the greatest heavyweight champion of all time.

Tags: Fight, Greatest, Time

All this technology has not changed the way NFL Films does business and our process. Yes, with one touch of a button now you reach millions of people but it is still the same approach that my father and I started out with.

Tags: Business, Father, Technology

Covering a Super Bowl is actually one of the easiest things we do because our most experienced people are there. We'll have 25,000 feet of film and there's no way you're going to miss anything.

Tags: Actually, Film, Miss
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I have loved football as an almost mythic game since I was in the fourth grade. To me, the game wasn't even grounded in reality. The uniform turned you into a warrior. Being on a team, the mythology of physical combat, the struggle against the elements, the narrative of the game.

Tags: Game, Reality, Struggle

I never thought of what I was doing as a way to sell the NFL. I was making movies about a sport that I loved, about players and coaches that I respected. I wanted to convey my love of the game through film. And most artists convey their love through art. And my art and my love was expressed through film.

Tags: Art, Love, Movies

I remember when we were making 'They Call It Pro Football,' which was our 'Citizen Kane.' The first line is 'It starts with a whistle and ends with a gun.'

Tags: Football, Making, Remember

I've always been fascinated by Picasso and how he would look at a single image through multiple perspectives and from separate moments in time. He would look at a woman's face and he would see almost a three-dimensional look even though it was a flat canvas. I thought, well why couldn't we do the same thing with a football play?

Tags: Single, Time, Woman

I've been very lucky in the freedom that I've been given. Every artist needs two types of freedom: You need the freedom to - the freedom to come up with an idea or treatment - and then you need the other half of the freedom, and that's freedom from - somebody saying, 'This is great. This is how I want you to do it.'

Tags: Freedom, Great, Saying

If you can show something as complicated as two people falling in love with just music and camera angles, well, just think about what you can do with football.

Tags: Football, Love, Music

Lombardi, a certain magic still lingers in the very name. It speaks of duels in the snow and November mud... He remains for many the heart of pro football, pumping hard right now.

Tags: Football, Heart, Snow

My Dad hated his job. He sold overcoats, but he wanted to make movies. He had a failed career working with the Ritz Brothers - they were like the Marx Brothers, only a tier below. I always had a picture in my mind of him in a straw hat.

Tags: Dad, Mind, Movies

I tried to draw people more realistically, but the figure I neglected to update was myself.

Tags: Draw, Figure, Tried

And, in some ways I like traveling, in other ways I'm sort of fed up by the whole notion.

Tags: Traveling, Ways, Whole

I don't often go to a place just to check out all the cultural sites of a city.

Tags: City, Often, Place

I think I'm generally a good listener anyway.

Tags: Anyway, Good, Listener

I'd much rather hang out in a cafe. That's where things are really happening.

Tags: Cafe, Happening, Rather

I'd rather go to a place and spend a couple of months, get to know it, get to know the people.

Tags: Place, Rather, Spend

I'm not a good tourist, I don't like tourism.

Tags: Good, Tourism, Tourist

It became clear to me that I had to push it toward a more representational way of drawing.

Tags: Clear, Drawing, Toward

It's a visual world and people respond to visuals.

Tags: Respond, Visual, Visuals

Of course, I'm drawn to a place like Iraq because It's the biggest story of our generation.

Tags: Generation, Place, Story

When I went to Bosnia, I was there to tell someone else's story and I was more methodical.

Tags: Else, Someone, Tell

With comics you can put interesting and solid information in a format that's pretty palatable.

Tags: Pretty, Put, Solid

And I think I find, I know a lot of people around, in different cities, and so it's not - it might sound strange - but it's not that hard to say good-bye, because I know there's other people where I'm going. I can sort of fit in in a lot of places.

Tags: Hard, Might, Strange

I don't like just traveling in for a short time. I've done that before, because sometimes you work for magazines and they have a budget, and if you're working for them, they want something by a certain time.

Tags: Done, Time, Work

I think any journalist who spends time in a place realizes that there are lots of stories around beyond their primary story. You meet so many interesting people and have all kinds of experiences.

Tags: Place, Story, Time

I try to ask visual questions. I'll ask what someone was wearing, if that seems relevant. If possible, I'll walk over the same ground that they're depicting. Of course, I can never get it precisely as it was.

Tags: Possible, Someone, Try

I will interview bigwigs if I get the chance, but you are seldom surprised by people in power - you've got to get awfully damn close to get anything new.

Tags: Chance, Close, Power

My guide had a copy of Palestine on my last trip to Gaza. He'd bring it out and show people what I was trying to do. That usually went over pretty well.

Tags: Last, Pretty, Trying

Oh, it's essential. I mean, you have to - if I'm writing about the Middle East, I have to go there, and if possible, stay long enough to get a real feeling for what's going on.

Tags: Feeling, Real, Writing

Robert Crumb is an influence on how I draw, but not on the subject matter I take or my approach. One thing I do like about Crumb is that he's chronicled his age, his times, and I think that is what artists should do.

Tags: Age, Matter, Times

There's probably one more story about Bosnia that I'd like to do, because I spent a fair amount of time on the Serb side of the lines, which isn't apparent in the other books.

Tags: Fair, Story, Time

When I was there, something clicked in my head; I found myself interviewing people, searching out facts and figures. Later on I became much more self-conscious of what I was doing.

Tags: Facts, Found, Head
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