“I was raised on TV,” says Jeff Winger to the elderly black woman in the cafeteria, whom he tells he’s been raised to believe is a wise listener who can dole out one-line bits of long-lasting advice. And, with that, the first season of Community has begun.
If you’ve ever read this site and are now returning, you are one of a few things: an overweight Internet troll with too much time, a couch potato, a former athlete, or a fashion student trying to tap into the psyche of a somehow-employed 25 year old quasi-journalist with two degrees, neither one of which will do him any good or use.
Well, it would help you to know, I wasn’t raised by the Cosby Family, or even by Steve Urkel, or by Dennis Miller rants on Saturday Night Live. I was raised by NFL Films. I was raised by Steve Sabol – although I never really knew his name or paid enough attention to at the age of 13 – and the voice of John Facenda.
Sabol taught me about Gale Sayers. He differentiated Robert Smith from every other semi-incredible running back, and told me just exactly why Randy Moss was so electric.
Steve Sabol is the reason I wanted to get into film, or into journalism. Or, film and journalism. TV, they call it, but I watched him on the Internet, and that’s who I’m writing to you now. Some kids grow up on Jaws and want to become Spielberg. I grew up on lines like, “The Autumn Wind is a Raider,” which Sabol himself wrote.
I would stall my cereal and my carpool because I was crouched on my floor, pretending to cram for a test when I was really watching the story of Joe Namath and the 1969 Super Bowl, or Vince Lombardi’s tactical wizardry.
For me and – I will assume, as dangerous as that is – so many others like me, NFL Films and those programs like it (whether it’s E:60 or even Red Bull’s YouTube channel) were a creative stimulant. They were inspiring. They still are.
That was Steve Sabol. And, that is why he will be sorely missed.