NFL fans have lost a legend of the game, not for his play on the field but for what he did off the field. Penny Sabol (formerly Penny Ashman) and his son Casey Sabol survive the president of NFL Films who passed away on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, as does his former wife Lisa DeBella (since remarried). As usual we like to tell you about their families which follows the old adage that behind every great man is an even greater woman.
But first, you know of his work but perhaps he is not a household name in America. As for his biography Steve Sabol was the president of NFL Films for decades and a pioneer in applying technology to the recording of sports contests. He is almost single-handedly responsible for all of those great half-hour highlight films that you can see on cable television practically 24×7 which show the greatest moments and games in NFL history. He earned dozens of Emmy Awards and a lifetime achievement award for his body of work.
But beyond the testosterone of football film making he was also a man of the finer arts. Sabol was a poet and a visual artist who was widely respected for his art. You can read much more about his biography here and his family here.
He lived with his wife Penny Sabol in Moorestown, New Jersey, which is very near the headquarters for his company located in Mount Laurel. They moved there from Haverford after his earlier divorce and were just married in the last ten years. She was born on November 28th, 1958 and her maiden name is Penny Ashman. We believe that she attended the Rhode Island School of Design and now runs her own small company in broadcast media.
He was formerly married to Lisa Sabol but the couple divorced after ten years of marriage. She now goes by Lisa DeBella.
At the time of his passing he he was just 69 years old and had battled an incurable brain tumor for the past two years. Despite the health condition he worked as long as he could right up until the end.
He had just one child with his first wife, a young man named Casey Sabol. He started high school prep at his father’s alma mater, the Haverford School, but later transferred to the Woodlynde School located in Stratford, New Jersey. That school has since been closed down. He is a passionate musician who went on from high school to graduate from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Casey’s genre is heavy metal. He is a singer and songwriter currently living in Los Angeles, California, and already making a name for himself. He was a member of the metal band Periphery but left to pursue a solo career. You can see one of his music videos below. Don’t you find it refreshing that he is not following in his father’s footsteps, which would have undoubtedly been an easier road to riches? You can find his Myspace page here and his Facebook page here. I find it odd that his stepmom and dad are not Facebook friends. Possibly they are of that generation that does not do the social networking thing.
In lieu of cards and letters, the Sabol family has requested donations for cancer research. They can be directed to the Jefferson Foundation for Brain Tumor Research, c/o Lindsey Walker, 925 Chestnut Street, Suite 110, Philadelphia, Pa., 19107.