Most Photogenic Player
Roger Craig, arguably was the most photogenic player National Football League history.
Number 33 bursting into view from behind a convoy of blockers, with his “catfish-like eyes” and knees pumping high was a classic image.
STEVE SABOL 1942-2012
Today, September 18, 2014 marks the second anniversary of the passing of the NFL’s biggest advocate, Steve Sabol, one of the founders and President of NFL Films.
The NFL doesn’t need a new Commissioner – it needs a new Steve Sabol.
Steve Sabol was the biggest influence in my life.
Saturday night, March 25, 1967 saw the television debut of a half hour weekly series called, “National Football League Action.” It was billed as a, “penetrating look at the teams, players and coaches who make professional football.”
The first film showed, “They Call It Pro Football.”
At the conclusion of that film I knew photographing football and sports was what I wanted to do with my life – and I was willing to crawl on my belly five miles over broken glass to do it.
Eventually I created my own mini version of NFL Films, Bill Fox Sports Photos.
For 35 years I photographed thousands of youth league and high school athletes all over the San Francisco Bay Area, using the same photographic techniques and positioning, I saw Steve use in his films.
Through the years I developed a relationship with Steve. Although we never met in person we corresponded and talked on the phone many times. Steve Sabol had the common touch.
For 25 years I was fortune enough to work the sidelines of the NFL for the team I grew up with and loved – the San Francisco 49ers. At the conclusion of my career I created a 400-page coffee table book of my images called, Field Photo – 25 Years on the San Francisco 49er Sideline.
I sent Steve a copy. Shortly after he sent me what I consider my most prized possession.
Steve Sabol is missed.
THE NOBLEST 49ER OF THEM ALL
Bryant Young’s 49er career spanned 14 of the 25 years I was with the team – longer than any other player. I photographed his first regular season NFL game against the Los Angeles Raiders on Monday night September 5, 1994 at Candlestick Park. And I photographed his last regular season NFL game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland, Sunday, December 30, 2007.
When he retired, BY was the last active 49er to have played in a 49er Super Bowl game.
His awards were numerous.
- 1994 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
- All-Pro 1st team, 1996 and 1998
- Four Pro Bowl appearances
But most symbolic of his character was an unprecedented seven Len Eshmont Awards. The Eshmont is voted by 49er teammates to the player who best exemplified courage and leadership.
That courage and leadership was demonstrated when BY suffered a severely broken leg suffered late in a 1998 Monday Night Game against the New York Giants.
There were fears BY would never play again. Saying BY came back is an understatement. His career continued for nine more seasons playing with a metal rod in his leg while earning the NFL Ed Block Courage award along with the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.
To me, Bryant Young will always be, Mr. San Francisco 49er.
The explosive roar from the crowd watching the 49ers play at Kezar Stadium, a mile or so away from my backyard halted the football game my first grade classmates and I had going on.
We looked at each other then run up the backstairs seeking out my mother, who was inside listening to the game on the radio, so she could tell us what just happened.
That was the moment I fell in love with football and the San Francisco 49ers beginning a nearly 60-year relationship. “Football is my life,” may sound like a corny sound-bite from an NFL Films segment – but in my case – it’s true.
On Thursday Nights during the 2014 Football season, I will post pictures and the stories from the amazing synchronicities and events which pushed me from the San Francisco Police Department onto the sidelines with the San Francisco 49ers and the National Football League.