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NFL Films Founder ED SABOL on Saturday was elected to the Pro Football HOF as a league "contributor," earning his "rightful place" in Canton, according to Ray Buck of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. NFL Films President & CEO STEVE SABOL, Ed's son, "described his father as 'emotional, proud and humbled' when getting the news Saturday." Steve Sabol: "He wasn't expecting it." He added his father's "biggest concern is that he didn't want to replace a player." Sabol: "Something needs to be done to make a separate rail for 'contributor' to get into the Hall of Fame." Ed Sabol will be inducted in August alongside RICHARD DENT, MARSHALL FAULK, CHRIS HANBURGER, the late LES RICHTER, DEION SANDERS and SHANNON SHARPE (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/6). Dallas Morning News reporter RICK GOSSELIN, who is one of the 44 HOF voters, said, "We're charged with putting the seven best candidates in, and Ed Sabol's candidacy was as strong as anybody's in that room." Gosselin: "You look at the impact NFL Films has had in growing the sport and making it as popular as it became. When he started the company back in '62, pro football was the third-biggest sport in the nation, behind baseball and college football. Now it's the favorite sport in America, and the committee realized that a big part of that was Ed Sabol." Sabol becomes the 19th contributor elected to the HOF (Reuben Frank, CSNPHILLY.com, 2/5).
LOT OF DEBATE AROUND SELECTION: In Cleveland, Tony Grossi noted the "longest discussion" among voters debating the candidates was for Sabol, taking up 37 minutes. Grossi: "That wasn't surprising because the debate on Sabol was whether his unique role in advancing the popularity of the NFL outweighed the merits of a deserving player" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 2/6). In Charlotte, Darin Gantt noted Sabol's candidacy elicited the "most spirited debate" among voters (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/6). SI.com's Jim Trotter, an HOF voter, wrote with an "expanding backlog of players, he faced questions not only about whether he was deserving of selection, but also the larger issue of whether a coach or contributor deserves a spot over a player" (SI.com, 2/6). In Dallas, Gosselin noted Sabol became the "annual wild card in the selection process -- a dark horse who powered his way into the class on the strength of superb Saturday presentation." Redskins Exec VP & GM BRUCE ALLEN said of Sabol, "He's received 100 Emmys, but that's sort of Hollywood. This (honor) says we appreciate what the fans are seeing. ... The phrase I've heard from the selection committee was, 'Can we write the history of the game without mentioning so-and-so?' We can write the history of the NFL without Ed Sabol -- but we sure wouldn't be able to watch it" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/6).
FITTING TRIBUTE: In Philadelphia, Paul Domowitch reports all 140 NFL Films employees who worked Super Bowl XLV yesterday "wore red socks ... in honor of the man who built the company they work for." NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL also wore red socks "to pay tribute" to Sabol. Steve Sabol said, "That was one of my dad's sartorial idiosyncrasies. Even if he was wearing a tuxedo, he'd always wear red socks" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/7).
Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES "embodies what the Super Bowl has become, with his $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium, his massive video board, his go-go dancers, his parties, everything exaggerated and indulgent," according to a profile by Greg Bishop of the N.Y. TIMES. Jones is the "rare owner who added to the spectacle of the Super Bowl," as Cowboys Stadium "received thousands of mentions by more than 5,000 reporters." He "stood in stark contrast to the blue-collar participants," the Steelers and Packers, and he "gifted custom saddles to each player." The "bombastic Jones took a bow this week," and "nothing could dim his optimism." Jets Owner WOODY JOHNSON: "Clearly, he loves all this. His personality is perfect for it" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/5). In DC, Rick Maese wrote Jones is a "larger-than-life character who created this stage and, as always, is eager to please his captive audience." He is "still out front, still hoping everyone enjoys themselves." Former Cowboys coach BARRY SWITZER: "He goes out of his way to make everything memorable and special for everyone. ... He wants everyone to have a special experience." Former Cowboys VP/Player Personnel GIL BRANDT: "Jerry's a guy who thinks big. He's pleased to show off his facility, which is great and will never be duplicated." Redskins Owner DANIEL SNYDER: "I don't think he's intentionally a showman. It's just who he is" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/6). In Boston, Ian Rapoport reported Jones "held court for reporters for more than 80 minutes last week, lounging in the spotlight of Dallas' first Super Bowl and looking like the prince of the ball" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/6).
THE COMPANY YOU KEEP: In Dallas, Alan Peppard reports Jones was "surrounded by people richer and more famous than him" at last night's game. Guests in Jones' suite included WARREN BUFFETT, MICHAEL DELL, ROSS PEROT, JERRY FORD, HAROLD SIMMONS and Mexican telecommunications billionaire CARLOS SLIM HELU. Former President GEORGE W. BUSH and his wife, LAURA, were also in the suite, as were former Secretary of State CONDOLEEZA RICE, actor JOHN TRAVOLTA, Top Rank Chair BOB ARUM, boxers EVANDER HOLYFIELD and SUGAR RAY LEONARD, NBC's AL MICHAELS and former broadcasters JOHN MADDEN and PAT SUMMERALL (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/7).
MLB Giants Senior VP & GM BRIAN SABEAN's contract option for '12 was picked up by the club on Friday (MLB.com, 2/4)....The Knicks named former Nuggets VP/Basketball Operations MARK WARKENTIEN Dir of Pro Player Personnel. He will advise President of Basketball Operations DONNIE WALSH on the NBA Draft, scouting and player personnel moves (Knicks)....The 49ers promoted TOM GAMBLE to Dir of Player Personnel. Gamble will oversee both the team's college and pro personnel efforts (AP, 2/4).
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Redskins Owner DAN SNYDER on Friday said that his "legal dispute with Washington City Paper could have been averted had the newspaper retracted its Nov. 19 cover story detailing his alleged misdeeds as an owner and businessman." Snyder: "We were hoping (they'd) apologize, hoping they'd say they were sorry. All they had to do was apologize and retract their lies." In more than a half-dozen interviews Friday, the "usually press-shy Snyder repeatedly said that the article ... had defamed him and insulted his wife, TANYA." Snyder alleged that the article "questioned the sincerity of his wife's efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer research and prevention." But City Paper Editor MICHAEL SCHAFFER said, "The words 'breast cancer' never appeared anywhere in the story. The idea that we made fun of his wife in any way is inaccurate and a distraction from the real issue" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/5).
LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Former NFLer DAVID TYREE has been "transforming his fame into success as a spiritual role model." Tyree spent the week leading up to yesterday's Super Bowl XLV "assisting with a program for children in Dallas that shares a faith-based message about making positive choices." As part of the program, athletes "visited schools to share their message with thousands of students." Tyree retired from the NFL last summer and "turned his attention to work" with Int'l Children's Support Foundation, started by his mentor RICHARD MAHLER (Bergen RECORD, 2/6).
Heath takes top spot in annual
SBD/SBJ Super Bowl Pick 'Em
HOT TICKET: In N.Y., N.R. Kleinfield profiled RICHARD EBERS, whose business is the "resale of premium tickets to sporting events and concerts." Ebers, known as The Ticket Man, "counts 6,000 clients, 500 of whom are his core." Ebers estimates that he sold $10M last year, and thinks that he "may sell more premium seats than any other person in New York." Ebers works out of the offices of Inside Sports & Entertainment (N.Y. TIMES, 2/6).
CHARITY STRIPE: Vikings S MADIEU WILLIAMS was "named the 2010 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year for his charitable endeavors" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/7)....Former golfer LORENA OCHOA Saturday in Phoenix accepted the USGA's Bob Jones Award for "distinguished sportsmanship in golf" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/6)....Minnesota-based American Medical Systems Friday said that it "will be the first new partner in a newly formed network to help" retired NFLers get care. The network, called the NFL Alumni Association Medical Alliance, "aims to address the problems retired players face in not being able to afford or get 'quality medical insurance' due to their injuries, as well as helping them cut through the bureaucracy to get health services." The NFL Alumni Association said that the alliance "will start 'in the coming months' in the New York metropolitan area and later be expanded to other NFL cities" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/5)
NAMES: Brewers Owner MARK ATTANASIO this offseason has "left his position" as TCW Group Inc. Group Managing Dir to "form his own investment company, Crescent Capital Group" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 2/6)....Yankees 2B ROBINSON CANO is "now a client" of agent SCOTT BORAS (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/5)....Golfer MARK WILSON has signed with SFX World Sports Management for representation (JSONLINE.com, 2/4)....Ravens OT MICHAEL OHER has teamed with DON YAEGER to write "I BEAT THE ODDS: FROM HOMELESSNESS TO THE BLIND SIDE AND BEYOND," which goes on sale tomorrow (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 2/6)....Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN was spotted chatting with BILL FAIRWEATHER, owner of Boston's The Greatest Bar, while in town for the Mavericks-Celtics game, and later was seen eating dinner at Umbria Prime (BOSTON HERALD, 2/7)....Minnesota Gov. TIM PAWLENTY attended last night's Super Bowl, and he was "snapping photos with his phone at halftime to send to his kids back home." Genesco Sports Enterprises co-Founder & CEO JOHN TATUM also was in attendance, and he had his picture taken with WARREN BUFFETT and HARRISON FORD (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/7).