BOSTON (CBS) — Of all we’ve ever seen of Bill Belichick during his tenure in New England, the most in-depth look came via “A Football Life,” an NFL Films production that came from the mind of Steve Sabol.

With Sabol passing away last week, Belichick shared with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King his strong feelings toward Sabol:

“Over the years I have been approached for hundreds of different projects. Commercials, books, movies, interviews, documentaries, you name it. It’s impossible to do all of them. Most get consideration and then a few wind up happening. Of them all, there were two exceptions that I really never gave a second thought to. One was from David Halberstam and the other was from Steve Sabol. When they approached me for their book and film ideas, there were no ‘what’s the angle, what about this, what about that?’ questions. That’s nothing against anyone else, but I figured if these two special men, whose genius stretched far beyond today and even beyond sports, are interested in doing something special with me, then who am I to ask questions? You trust them and go with it.

“I can remember a couple of times sitting with Steve as he pitched an idea. He’d be rattling off something unique he did with Vince Lombardi or some of the great teams and on and on, probably thinking that might hook me on what he’s trying to do. I’m just thinking to myself, ‘Does he know I’m going to agree to whatever he wants anyway? Why are we even going through this?’ Looking back, it was probably because as much as he enjoyed telling his first-hand experiences with every notable NFL figure over the past 50 years, I loved hearing them more. Like those legends he helped create, Steve will be impossible to replace and, to me, one of the biggest reasons is one word: trust.

“Steve Sabol was an innovator, motivator and salesman with the leadership and talent to execute ideas that others never even thought of. I mean, look at what he did with something as simple as a football spiral. He put it in slow motion to an orchestra and made it into an art form. That is one of countless examples of Steve’s pure passion for the NFL’s participants, the fans and the game itself. My condolences to the Sabol family and everyone at NFL Films.”


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