Ed Sabol, left, and Steve Sabol, at the NFL Films compound in New Jersey.
How close was Ed Sabol to becoming the commissioner of the NFL?
Not now, of course. The founder of NFL Films is 94 years old and doesn’t want to give up his nice retirement home in Arizona.
But there’s a clip during an NFL Network hour-long documentary called “Ed Sabol: King of Football Movie,” which reairs at 11 a.m. Saturday prior to Sabol’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (on the NFL Network, 4 p.m.) that implies it was at least discussed.
ABC’s Howard Cosell and Jack Whitaker are sitting in a hotel lobby with Sabol puffing on cigarettes when Cosell makes the suggestion that current NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle might someday want to branch off and focus on the business part of the sport, leaving someone like Sabol to be the next visionary.
It ends with everyone laughing at an impromptu joke that Sabol comes up with, but it never answers the question.
“My dad would never have wanted to do that,” said Ed’s son, Steve Sabol .
Steve, who will be presenting his father at Saturday’s ceremony, continues to take chemotherapy treatments for a brain tumor that was discovered last March. His mind isn’t working quite that well these days, he admits, but he knows the answer to this question without hesistation.
“That would have been too difficult,” Steve said of the commissioner job. “He had too much of a sense of humor. Rozelle was all about business and my dad was all about movies.”