Norman Sas, Inventor of Electric Football, Dies at age 87 (1925 – 2012)
Not long after graduating from MIT in 1947 with a senior thesis titled Characteristics and Problems of the Toy Manufacturer, Norman Sas unexpectedly inherited the presidency of Tudor Metal Products in Brooklyn. Norman immediately went to work creating electric football, which hit toy store shelves in 1949 and became an instant best seller. He then guided Tudor through the post war toy boom, and into a very profitable and prominent relationship with the NFL in 1967. During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Tudor electric football games accounted for almost 2/3 of NFL Properties’ income.
During this same period electric football games commanded featured toy status in the Christmas catalogs of Sears, Montgomery Ward, and J.C. Penney. Tudor’s success through the years enticed three other companies onto the vibrating gridiron, including one run by a former Tudor employee with a grudge.
Tudor survived competitors, recession, and stagflation to be the last electric football maker standing in 1977. But electric football, unfortunately, was no match for the light speed evolution of computer games. Mattel’s hand-held Electronic Football game would become the top-grossing toy of all-time, finalizing a seismic shift in sports games where the “blip” replaced the “buzz.”
Norman sold Tudor in 1988, and eventually retired to Florida where he continued to root for his New York Giants. Although a stroke had slowed him physically, he remained strong and sharp through most of his time in Florida. Unfortunately, problems with his health began to mount over the last year.
Norman passed away peacefully on June 28, 2012, surrounded by the family he loved so dearly.
Not only was he the inventor of electric football, one of the most recognizable toys of all-time, he was a true gentleman. We will always treasure the warmth and kindness he offered through the years.
Earl and Roddy, July 1, 2012
The New York Times honors Norman Sas and Electric Football
A beautiful and well deserved tribute by The Times: “Norman Sas, Inventor of Electric Football, Dies at 87.” The writer was William Yardley. An wonderful piece of writing.
Interview on KKTK Fox Sports Radio 1400
Earl Shores was interviewed by Chuck Zach and Tony Kirk on the “Headin Home Show” about Norman Sas and Electric Football (July 11). They were great hosts, with a lot of appreciation for what Norman did with the game. A recording of the interview was shared in an August 3 post here on The Unforgettable Buzz website.
More recognition for Norman Sas and Electric Football…
Many of these articles are being repeated on sites throughout the internet and on social media.
For those of us who grew up with the voice of John Facenda,NFL Films: “R.I.P., Inventor of Electronic Football.”
The Bergen County Record was the first to run a feature obituary about Norman Sas: “A LIFE: NORMAN SAS, 1925-2012 He made every day a Sunday.” Jay Levin was the writer, and he did a wonderful job of describing Mr. Sas and his game.
Articles or obituaries also appeared in:
Huffington Post, Yahoo! Sports, Los Angeles Times,NFL.com, Baltimore Sun,The Boston Herald, NBC Sports, AP … and many others.