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Sabol a big reason why you love the NFL

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 at 7:13 pm in Oakland Raiders.

There are a lot of people with better insight than I about Steve Sabol, who passed away at age 69.

People who knew him better, talked to him regularly, were more involved with the incredible legacy he left along with his father at NFL Films.

I spoke to him a handful of times over the years, working on one story or another. The one I remember most was in around 2000, when Jon Gruden was all the rage and NFL Films had done some great work showing “Chucky” to the masses.

I told him I would only take a few minutes of his time, and it turned out to be closer to half-an-hour _ an eternity for most newspaper interviews where you’re basically looking for a few quotes to fill out a story.

The story had to do with how big Gruden had become with all the facial expressions and sideline theatrics. Talked to players, people in the advertising business about Gruden’s marketability, the whole deal.

Sabol was easily the most fun to talk to and the most illuminating. “The way I see Jon Gruden is like he’s a lion tamer, and he snaps his whip and the cats are on the stools.”

He told me Gruden was the most telegenic and one of the most charismatic coaches he’d ever filmed.

Remember thinking at the time I could easily envision the “cats are on the stools” line being being included in an NFL Films piece.“ Sure enough, at one point, it happened.

Sabol was surprised how easy it was to put Gruden on a microphone and get virtually unlimited access. A lot of that had to do with Gruden, who loved the attention, but I’m sure Al Davis knew it was happening and signed off because of who was handling it.

It was Sabol, after all, who penned “The Autumn Wind is a Raider,” which essentially became a club anthem and is played with regularity at the Coliseum.

Nobody cared more about the legacy of the Raiders and the NFL than Davis, and so many of the works of NFL Films were priceless in glorifying the brand.

During our phone coversation, and one or two that followed, Sabol was always curious about Davis, the organization, how it was functioning. It was his job to chronicle the NFL and the work he and his father did through NFL Films in promoting their sport is unmatched in the annals of sport.

With highlights, results and everything about the NFL essentially available with the touch of a keystroke, NFL Films still gets great access and does good work but it can’t possibly have the kind of impact it had while the Sabols were introducing what would become the quintessential American sport to the public.

Any historical perspective on the NFL includes Steve Sabol as major player.

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  • http://raiders.com Klas Tjorborn

    Cedric Benson > Darren McFadden

  • AmysInCharge

    Did Reggie Bush ever stub his pinky toe and miss 9 games on a team contending?…no. You stand corrected.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    I got dibs on the white double nick. Promise to send you a thank you letter.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    Lonetree was here 2 days ago. He is fine.

  • Chris in NY

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 7:44 am
    Has anyone ever thought that MAYBE McFadden will never be the player he was in 2010, after this Lis Franc business?

    The guy has had turf toe twice, Lis Franc, and a few other injuries, and took a helluva pounding in college.

    He may be turning into Stephen Davis right before our eyes.

    ———————–

    I don’t think so. My eyes tell me he’s the same guy. Same burst, same speed, same power. I think he’s fully back. The o-line is just dreadful right now.

    The one difference with DMac is I see that when he’s trapped on the sideline now with nowhere to go he’ll step out of bounds rather than try to lower his shoulder and tee off on a defender, which I think is smart. He’ll take — and deliver — enough hits over the course of the season. No need to take on extra contact for no reason. Having said that, he did almost break one against SD and picked up another 15 yards or so where he was at the sideline and the defender thought he was stepping out and he cut it back up field instead.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Having said that, he did almost break one against SD and picked up another 15 yards or so where he was at the sideline and the defender thought he was stepping out and he cut it back up field instead.

    ******************************

    That was a great move, hell probably a season highlight at this stage.

    It worked well than, not sure why he didn’t try it in the 3rd quarter in Miami on the screen pass.

  • AmysInCharge

    You guys need to face facts about DMC,..he was nothing more then a fast guy in Arkansas that was hurt quite a bit,..hes now a semi fast guy that will not play in pain, wont play nicked,…hes a total wash out in the NFL and out of it in two years…he wont be a Raider next year and he knows it thats why he will barely play this year,..he has no heart whatsoever and is your typical gutless SEC running back. You can thank me now.

  • Carl Weathers

    So how long before a story breaks that these replacement refs are laying dough on the games?

    There was that ref in New Orleans that got pulled off the field because his facebook page was littered with him in Saints gear.

    Now there’s this:

    Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy said a replacement ref told him during Week 2 that he needed McCoy to produce for his fantasy team. ‘They’re like fans, kind of though,’ McCoy said. ‘I’ll be honest, they’re like fans. One of the refs was talking about his fantasy team, like, ‘McCoy, come on. I need you for my fantasy,’ ahhh, what?!’

  • hwnrdr

    Now there’s this:

    Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy said a replacement ref told him during Week 2 that he needed McCoy to produce for his fantasy team. ‘They’re like fans, kind of though,’ McCoy said. ‘I’ll be honest, they’re like fans. One of the refs was talking about his fantasy team, like, ‘McCoy, come on. I need you for my fantasy,’ ahhh, what?!’

    So is that what happened that got Ray Lewis heated?

  • AmysInCharge

    Yo Hawaiin bro, big tailgate Sunday,..A lot,..be there dude,…if you have Briens number he will have location…I will be in Kaanapali entire month of January,.cave bar, Hyatt, join me,..we will get sh!t faced and let that canal take us out to the Pacific…Aloha!

  • Marks hair

    Just sign carter & plax

  • DutchRaider77

    546.Klas Tjorborn Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 8:25 am
    Pro Football Weekly ‏@ProFootballWkly
    RT @MiamiDolphins: Congrats to @reggie_bush, who has been named AFC Offensive Player of the Week!
    Expand
    Reply Retweet Favorite
    —-
    ______________________________________________

    Hope they hang that in the locker room!

  • hwnrdr

    AmysInCharge Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 8:51 am
    Yo Hawaiin bro, big tailgate Sunday,..A lot,..be there dude,…if you have Briens number he will have location…I will be in Kaanapali entire month of January,.cave bar, Hyatt, join me,..we will get sh!t faced and let that canal take us out to the Pacific…Aloha!

    I’ll take a walk down with Brien when he gets to mine. Leaving for home next Friday! i’ll see if I can escape in January!

  • http://raiders.com Klas Tjorborn

    Adam Caplan ‏@caplannfl
    CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah signed with the Raiders practice squad, according to his agent, @andysimms.
    Retweeted by Steve Corkran
    Expand
    Reply Retweet Favorite

  • RAIDERMAN99

    The worst replacement official is still better than Walt Coleman.

  • http://raiders.com Klas Tjorborn

    Akwasi Owusu-Ansah signing probably means Chekwa signed to regular roster.

  • oakfoshow

    #556 Dont you owe me a fifty?

  • RaiderSam

    Hwnrdr Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 8:48 am
    Now there’s this:

    Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy said a replacement ref told him during Week 2 that he needed McCoy to produce for his fantasy team. ‘They’re like fans, kind of though,’ McCoy said. ‘I’ll be honest, they’re like fans. One of the refs was talking about his fantasy team, like, ‘McCoy, come on. I need you for my fantasy,’ ahhh, what?!’

    =============

    Hilarious! And the other one that had to get replaced because he was going to ref the Saints game and he had that Saints T-shirt on FB.

  • http://raiders.com Klas Tjorborn

    Oakofshow, take yo ass back to ghetto town.

  • DennisAllensVisor

    Owusu-Ansah was a guy I wanted in the draft that year..

    CB/S.. Return man too.

  • RaiderSam

    Klas Tjorborn Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 8:30 am
    Cedric Benson > Darren McFadden

    =============

    how many TDs did Benson score in a 59-14 blow out at Mile High?

    Exactly.

    DMC is a top 100 player. Benson is a scrub.

  • http://raiders.com Klas Tjorborn

    DMC is a top 100 player. Benson is a scrub.
    ——
    Not this year.

  • RaiderSam

    AmysInCharge Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 8:31 am
    Did Reggie Bush ever stub his pinky toe and miss 9 games on a team contending?…no. You stand corrected.

    ===============

    You know the fan base is gripping when they diss the obvious best player on the entire freaking team.

  • RaiderSam

    Klas Tjorborn Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 8:58 am
    DMC is a top 100 player. Benson is a scrub.
    ——
    Not this year

    ==========

    I agree. BENSON IS STILL A SCRUB.

    jesus, its been TWO games.

    LMAO!!!

  • DennisAllensVisor

    The Lions should bench Matthew Stafford too, because he just isnt getting it done.

    LOL

  • RaiderSam

    Chris In NY Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 8:34 am
    Just Fire Baby Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 7:44 am
    Has anyone ever thought that MAYBE McFadden will never be the player he was in 2010, after this Lis Franc business?

    The guy has had turf toe twice, Lis Franc, and a few other injuries, and took a helluva pounding in college.

    He may be turning into Stephen Davis right before our eyes.

    ———————–

    I don’t think so. My eyes tell me he’s the same guy. Same burst, same speed, same power. I think he’s fully back. The o-line is just dreadful right now.

    ==========

    EXACTLY.

    put the guy in the same blocking scheme as last year. END OF STORY.

    but if he didnt produce an entire season, I suppose the criticism will mount.

  • Carl Weathers

    Free agent DB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah worked out for the Steelers.Owusu-Ansah was waived by the Cowboys at final cuts after attempting to make the transition from safety to corner during camp. The onetime receiver has made 14 career appearances since being drafted in the 2010 fourth round. Sep 5 – 7:43 PMSource: Adam Caplan on Twitter

    So the steelers cut him and then opted for DVD over him and now we have him after cutting DVD.

    I think Reg cut him prematurely due to the fact he was an AD “speed” pick. The same reason we haven’t seen Cris Carr brought in for a workout. Out with the old, in with the injured.

  • RaiderSam

    DennisAllensVisor Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 9:01 am
    The Lions should bench Matthew Stafford too, because he just isnt getting it done.

    LOL

    ==========

    And the Saints should bench Drew Brees, too.

    LMAO!

  • DJ Johnny

    I agree that Palmer needs to hit those open receivers when they are open. Sure, there have been some drops but imagine what his stats would look like if he didn’t complete just 50 %.

    Only stat that matters is “WINS” though.

  • RaiderSam

    Carl Weathers Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 9:01 am
    Free agent DB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah worked out for the Steelers.Owusu-Ansah was waived by the Cowboys at final cuts after attempting to make the transition from safety to corner during camp. The onetime receiver has made 14 career appearances since being drafted in the 2010 fourth round. Sep 5 – 7:43 PMSource: Adam Caplan on Twitter

    So the steelers cut him and then opted for DVD over him and now we have him after cutting DVD.

    I think Reg cut him prematurely due to the fact he was an AD “speed” pick. The same reason we haven’t seen Cris Carr brought in for a workout. Out with the old, in with the injured.

    ========================

    And with good reason. Do we really want to review the “misses” Al had

    well, if we must

    Sebastian Janikowski over Shaun Alexander
    Robert Gallery over Ben Rothelisberger
    Phillip Buchanon over Ed Reed. My God, they were on the same team – who cares if Woodson was the starter!?!
    Rickey Dudley over Marvin Harrison and RAY FREAKING LEWIS
    JaMarcus Russell over Megatron
    Jake Grove over Nick Hardwick and Randy Starks
    (holds back disgust) Fabian Washington over Aaron Rodgers .. oh yeah Roddy White AND Logan Mankins

    shall I go on…
    Michael Huff over Donte Whitner no, check that HALOTI NGATA! – and get this, we overpay for Kamerion Wimbley , who also could’ve been drafted…and Daniel Manning and Roman Harper were available later
    Thomas Howard over Devin Hester and Maurice Jones-Drew…

    it aint perfect, but I’M GIVING MR MUMBLES, Reggie McKenzie the benefit of the doubt for at least one more FULL draft.

  • nyraider

    Lack of Playmakers is whats killing the raiders ..on both sides of the ball..I also think many in this blog overglorify our players especially the WRs. When Palmer threw a lob to DHB in the end zone for a 50/50 DHB had no chance of making that play. I respect DHB improved last year but he is not what we need. We struggled in the red zone last year under Hue and we are struggling again.We need a WR who is physical, is quick to the ball, and catches TDs. I have been making the suggestion of bringing in Plax for at least a workout. The criticism I have received has been based on that no other GM has signed Plax so why should we and that Criner and Streater will give us what Plax can do.
    I will accept ignoring Plax if you are in a rebuilding mode. Otherwise it makes no sense.There were 60-65 WRs who had more TDS than DHB who last yr in his breakout year..haha..was our #1 receiver. We didnt have a great TE and Dmac was out 9-10 games , yet DHB caught only 4. Dmoore is talented but until he does it he should not be given credit like he has. My biggest criticism of this blog is the overglorification of the players.
    Many of you hammered me on that no other GM wanted Plax so why should we. Then its OK to believe in Streater? An UNDRAFTED(no other Gm wanted him) or Criner who has yet to catch a TD pass yet?
    Plax is not out of the league bc of talent issues, many gms have been burned by TO, Chad and others and dont want to go down that road bc they already have capable red zone performers. Remember their were 60+ receivers that had more TDs than DHB last year and many of them had to share the spotlight.
    If your rebuilding then no need for Plax, but if you want a red zone specialist who caught 8 Tds last yr with Sanchez as your QB than hes worth a workout? We need to stop overglorifying these players and btw Plax 8 tds last year is more than any Raider WR since 2005. Facts not fiction. I hope Criner catches 20td passes this year but until he does lets not go overboard

  • RaiderSam

    Nyraider Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 9:16 am

    “If your rebuilding then no need for Plax, but if you want a red zone specialist who caught 8 Tds last yr with Sanchez as your QB than hes worth a workout? We need to stop overglorifying these players and btw Plax 8 tds last year is more than any Raider WR since 2005. Facts not fiction. I hope Criner catches 20td passes this year but until he does lets not go overboard”

    =======================

    so they clear out the cap space completely , see what they can salvage, evaluate players moving forward and hit the draft. if they only have six picks, they should trade to acquire four more, even if it means moving down….that being said, could McKenzie find the Marques Colston’s and Courtland Finnegan’s later in rounds as good GMs do? That is the question..

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