August 8th, 2011 DC Show Report
What a vacation. Haven’t had one in a while because, well, a tip jar at a coffee shop doesn’t get much of anything if you aren’t behind it flashing a smile. Honestly it doesn’t get much of anything anyway. Regardless, I currently mostly live off of one (as well as equal parts lack of sleep and what I would describe as heroic amounts of caffeine), and even with the smile present, it doesn’t go far when planning a vacation even though I have a man beard version of the Mona Lisa of smiles and make some of the best espresso and cappuccinos you’ll find. Yeah, not making any plans for week long trips abroad anytime soon.
So a couple days off, even if meager in how those days were financed, and I’m back and feeling quite invigorated by the choice of activities which made up said humble get away. Most notably in what was Saturday’s plan, my first pilgrimage to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. It was a trip long overdue. Which coincidentally, was very much like the man who was unquestionably the most important person to the game itself of all those to be enshrined this year. And much like my vacation, also something long overdue.
It was a bumper crop of players to get inducted in this year’s 2011 class and no one can argue that. Dent, Faulk, Shannon and Deion, all players you recognize by either their first or last name alone. All modern era legends, all Super Bowl winners, and all of them changed the game with their level of play and approach to the sport. But one man, a man who never played a down of professional football (or college for that matter), was and is, more important to the game than most anyone to have ever played. That man, is Ed Sabol, the founder of NFL Films.
In 1962, one year before the Hall of Fame was even selected to be given a home in Canton, Ed Sabol created NFL Films. It is a legacy that is woven within the very fabric of the game itself. Our love, and our very image and memory of professional football, is all intrinsically linked to what Ed and his team at NFL Films has produced game after game, championship after championship, Super Bowl after Super Bowl, year after year, for what is now going on 50 years.
No one will ever suggest Deion Sanders doesn’t thrive in the spotlight, but that spotlight wouldn’t exist in the form it does without NFL Films. And though it his through his play that gave him the spotlight of the NFL in the first place, Deion, no matter how much of an entertainer he is, is not the entertainer on the level of Ed Sabol. So now, even though ESPN and most of the media will claim that Deion was the “Prime Time” event of the proceedings (and he was good), it was a man in a wheel chair still full of life sitting but one month away from his 95th birthday, the man whose vision is literally how we’ve come to see the game that has become the biggest show there is, it should really be no surprise that he was the one who stole the show this Saturday in Canton.
Anyone that will tell you otherwise, just doesn’t get it.
In fact the only real thing that’s left to question with this is how in the world is it that the Pro Football Hall of Fame didn’t have Ed already enshrined?! Actually his son Steve who has been apart of the company from its earliest day (first as a camera man, then as its personality and host, on to finally replacing his father in 1995 as the “boss” of the company), makes it so the better question to ask now is how is it that he’s not already in too?
Albeit brief (and cheap), I had a great vacation, and seeing Ed Sabol and his NFL Films get its long overdue just due by getting a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame was the absolute highlight. It’s a living memory I’ll keep forever, which is not unlike that of what his work has meant to every fan in the world on the whole. Please take the time, as a fan, I cannot implore you anymore highly, to honor what he means and has meant by watching his induction from the ceremony over the weekend as handled by his son, Steve:
See why his role in the NFL is so important now? See how you already knew this even if you hadn’t realized it? Most of all, see how his recognition for it was so overdue?
Poor Shannon and Deion, they didn’t stand a chance this day.
Best vacation in a long time. I’m not going to lie, it made me weep.
That said, I also went to Pittsburgh which I wrote about the other day. Love that city, but I love the NFL so much more. And the Steelers can suck it.
PS – Browns still practicing gearing up for their first pre season game on Saturday here against the Packers. Tribe with the day off today before starting a 3 game set tomorrow against the team that sits 4 games ahead of them in the Central, the Detroit Tigers. Of course I covered all this in great length on the show this morning, what were you doing?
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