World War II is the only human endeaver that is documented more thoroughly on film than the NFL, according to NFL Films president Steve Sabol. With more than 3,000 miles of film shot already, Sabol may yet be No. 1.
That's a perch Sabol constantly aims for. He wants his pictures to be full of bright colors and capture the sounds as well as the action of the game.
Once a Colorado College fullback called "Sudden Death Sabol," he doesn't use videotape because "film has more romance and richness. Our products have to have that sense of history and romance. We're after the sounds, the grunts, the groans, the sweat, dirt clumps flying with a lot of faces and eyes."
Each fall he releases a set of special videos gleaned from that enormous library of film to tell a story about NFL football. And each year the videos seem to get even better, more tightly woven and better written than the earlier works that have brought Sabol and his troops 40 Emmys and five cable Aces. Each runs 45 to 50 minutes and is listed at $19.98. (Phone: 1-800-NFL-TAPE)
In a rare departure from form, the fall set includes "Field of Honor," 100 years of Army football, which Sabol put together for a syndicated television special last fall.
One favorite for any collector of sports videos has to be "NFL's Greatest Moments of the Last 25 Years." This one puts into clear focus those spectacular plays and super achievements, often blurred by time, such as "The Catch," "The Drive," and "The Immaculate Reception." There is also "Most Memorable Moments in Super Bowl History," super plays and performances from Joe (Namath) to Joe (Montana).
"Bombs Away" explores the great passing combinations over the years. "Football Follies on Parade," is No. 8 in the extraordinarily popular series that provides its share of laughs, as does "Big Plays, Best Shots and Belly Laughs." The game's colorful characters are woven into "Bad Boys and Good Men," while bruisers and off-field glamor boys are featured in "Beauties and the Beasts." Lengendary rockers Dick Butkus, Gino Marchetti, Jack Lambert, Jack Tatum and Lawrence Taylor tell how it feels to deliver a great hit in "Big Blocks and King Size Hits." Today's marquee players light up "Superstars of the NFL" and those who have the brightest futures star in "The NFL's Hungriest Men of the 90s."