By Ed Odeven
TOKYO (Feb. 18, 2015) — NFL Films founder Ed Sabol’s recent death at age 98 triggered many memories for those who crossed paths with him over the years.
Sports columnist Dave Wiggins, who grew up near Philadelphia and became a high school football coach in the area, remembered Sabol’s work before NFL Films became an institution and a driving force of the NFL’s popularity from coast to coast.
“Believe it or not, before he got into NFL Films, Sabol used to work developing game films for Philly area high school football coaches,” Wiggins, who pens the Man About Sports column for The Japan Times, wrote in an email. “My first year as a head coach, I used to drop films off at his house to be developed and then pick them up later. After that, he moved on to the big time.”
Wiggins described his interactions with Sabol as “really pretty much all business.”
“He was a friend of my principal, who suggested I use him (our booster club provided the funds),” Wiggins recalled.
“I would just knock on the door of his big house out on the Main Line (ritzy area of Philly suburbs) and give him the films to develop and then come back later and pick them up.
“We’d just exchange pleasantries and he would ask if we won or not.
“I think it’s when he was just building up his business after he got out of the selling of coats because it wasn’t as much fun as film work – which he had dabbled in as a young adult onward. He began by filming his family, I believe.”
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