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Sports Then and Now



NFL Wouldn’t Be a $9 Billion Industry Without Ed Sabol 10

Posted on August 06, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Ed Sabol helped turn the NFL into a $9 billion industry by capturing the sport like never before.

It seems fitting that just days after the NFL and its players finally figured out how to split $9 billion dollars that one of the men most responsible for turning the league into such a financial juggernaut is being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Interestingly enough, the person I refer to, Ed Sabol, is the one person among the seven inductees that never played a down in the league.

Instead, as the founder of NFL Films, Sabol created a platform that showed the NFL players in a completely different light and elevated the sport into a national favorite.

Considering that unlike baseball and basketball, football players are hidden being a facemask, it would seem to be much harder for football players to become recognizable figures compared to players in other sports.

However, thanks to Sabol and NFL Films, which captured the grace and elegance of football through the use of slow motion and zoom cameras, generations of NFL fans are familiar with the style and power of players ranging from Jim Brown, Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers in the early days to Walter Payton, Earl Campbell and Mike Singletary in the 1970s and 80s to current stars such as Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson and Ray Lewis. Read the rest of this entry →

Who Would Have Thought? Pro Football Hall of Fame Voters Get It Right 2

Posted on February 05, 2011 by Dean Hybl

After being eligible for nine years, Richard Dent finally was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For the last two years I have been a very vocal critic of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. I have articulated in numerous articles that I think for much of the last decade they have been inconsistent in their selections often picking small classes when there were plenty of deserving candidates and then when they do select players for the Hall of Fame often choosing borderline candidates when more deserving people were waiting in the wings.

We will see in the coming years if it is a seed change or a one-time blind squirrel kind of thing, but I must give the voters credit for doing a tremendous job in selecting the Hall of Fame class of 2011.

In an article I wrote last night, I outlined the six people I thought deserved to be inducted in 2011. Shockingly, all six were inducted with veteran’s committee choice Les Richter making the seventh member of the class.

With the exception of Deion Sanders and Shannon Sharpe, the class of 2011 doesn’t include any players on the short list for best ever at their position, but all seven were solid NFL veterans who are deserving selections for the Hall of Fame.

While there are still a number of tremendous candidates who have been waiting for far too long like Jerry Kramer, Ray Guy, Roger Craig, Chuck Howley and Cliff Branch, at least the class of 2011 doesn’t include some of the head scratching choices of recent years. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • George Blanda: NFL’s Great Old Man
      December 15, 2019 | 3:07 pm
      George Blanda

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month had two separate careers in pro football that combined to make him one of the legendary players of his era (or eras).

      George Blanda, who played a record 26 years in professional football and didn’t retire from the NFL until the age of 48, is best remembered for his nine-year stint as the crusty old kicker and miracle maker for the Oakland Raiders of the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, his career transcended generations and connected legends.

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