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Electronic Football Inventor Passes Away

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Norman Sas’s name won’t be up there in the bright lights with Albert Einstein or Jonas Salk or Steve Jobs but in the world of inventors and sports Sas is a giant.

The obituary reads simple-Norman Sas passes away at the age of  87. He is survived by his wife of 62 years Irene. He leaves 2 daughters and 7 grandchildren. That’s the short version. But Sas didn’t lead a short life. Sports fans Norman Sas  was a pioneer!

Sas was the inventor of electronic football which by todays standards or Madden 13 and many other high tech video games was rather pedestrian but Sas got it going.

If you don’t remember the game it was a bit noisy, somewhat cumbersome, not as glitzy as todays video games, but when my age group and even a little older and younger Norman’s invention was all kinds of fun.

Electronic Football hit the market in 1949. The NFL signed a deal with Sas in 1967 as part of the leagues product licensing division. From there electronic Football took off. From Albany to Alabama. From Buffalo to Boston. From Los Angeles to Las Vegas Sas’s football game became a must have for every kid.

Sure it could be annoying to set up all those little electronic men in formation then hit the play button and off they went. I was often the Jets and like in real life they got their tail kicked by the Cowboys. My guys always seemed to be running the wrong way. Jim Marshall would have been proud. He was the Vikings player that ran the wrong way in the real NFL for an opponents TD.

After the play ended you set up all the plastic men again. Oh the battles we used to have.

Norman Sas graduated from the Bronx High School of Science. he got the idea for the football game by seeing a vibrating horse toy.

The NY Times blared after the game came out “Actual football thrills for armchair strategists”. The game hit the marker for a retail price of 5.95.

R.I.P Norman Sas. It could be said if it weren’t for Sas and his great mind and love of fun and football who knows where electronic sports games would be today. You have to start someplace and that someplace started back in the 1940’s with Norman Sas!

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