Football: Jets-v-Eagles, Sep 2009 – 07
Image by Ed Yourdon
Note: this photo was published in an Oct 13, 2010 blog titled "What You Can Learn From NFL Stars." It was also published in an undated (mid-Nov 2010) blog titled "Online Football Shirt Options." And it was published in a Dec 26, 2010 blog titled "3 Online Dating Tips For Newbies And Beginners."
Moving into 2011, the photo was published in a Jan 16, 2011 blog titled "Where can I find a free online dating site?" It was also published in an undated (early Apr 2011) Online Gaming blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. And it was published in an Apr 8, 2011 Cool Play Free Football Games Online images blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in an Apr 23, 2011 First Date Conversation blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. And it was published in an Oct 13, 2011 blog titled "Best Mobile Sports Tracker?" It was also published in an undated (early Dec 2011) blog titled "Winning Fantasy Football Newsletter."
Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Feb 28, 2012 "Medical Daily" blog titled "Research: Heat-Related Deaths Triple among Football Players." It was also published in a Mar 14, 2012 blog titled "Ten Step Guide to Catching Action Shots." And it was published as one of several illustrations in an undated (late Apr 2012) Mashpedia article/blog titled "Football." It was also published in an Apr 30, 2012 blog titled "What Is Your Game Plan?" And it was published in a Jun 13, 2012 The Step Exercise Equipment blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in a Sep 30, 2012 blog titled "‘niners: week 3." And it was published in a Nov 27, 2012 blog titled "Can wordpress shut your site down if there are lots of inappropriate comments?"
I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that, until last night, I had never been to a professional football game in my life. Baseball, basketball, and tennis: yes, of course. High-school and college football games: sure, though that was a long time ago. Indeed, the last college football game I watched (in person) was in the mid-60s, when I was invited to the annual Harvard-Yale game by a Radcliffe student I had begun dating — a development to which my MIT college roommate reacted, in shock, by howling, "Radcliffe? You’re dating a Cliffie? She must be a pig!" After which he pulled out his flute, every time he thought she might be present when he returned to our off-campus apartment, and played "Old McDonald Had a Farm" until he collapsed in gales of laughter on the stairwell. Highly inaccurate, I hasten to note, and totally unfair. But I digress…
Anyway, a freelance writer, Mitch Ligon (whose photo you can see here in one of my Flickr sets), invited me to accompany him last night to the New York Jets – Philadelphia Eagles game out in the New Jersey Meadowlands — another first-time experience. I was given a photographer’s press pass, which gave me access to the locker rooms, press box, various other "inner sanctum" locations … and, most important, the football field itself. I was given a red jersey to wear, told to stay outside the yellow dashed lines that ring the field, and turned loose for the evening. I felt somewhat inadequate, because I knew that the "real" professional photographers would be equipped with high-cameras and monstrous telephoto lenses beyond anything I had ever touched, or could possibly afford; and even though my Nikon D300 and 70-300mm zoom lens is fairly respectable in amateur circles, I had no idea if I would be able to take any decent photos at all…
The other problem is that I know little or nothing about the nuances of football, beyond the obvious fact that the quarterback either passes the ball, or hands off to someone who attempts to run the ball downfield. Punts and field-goal kicks are also a familiar concept, but if you don’t have a good anticipatory sense of who is about to do what to whom, it’s easy to miss the "moment" when the perfect shot might be available. Also, I didn’t really know anything about the players, aside from the respective star quarterbacks: Philadelphia’s controversial Michael Vick, and New York’s newly-named starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez. I had looked at the team rosters on the Internet before the game, so at least I knew their jersey numbers (#6 for Sanchez, and #7 for Vick, as you’ll see in the photos) — but the "action" was often so far away (at the other end of the field) that I couldn’t tell whether the starting quarterback, or one of the substitutes, was making the plays.
Nevertheless, by the beginning of the second quarter I was feeling a little more comfortable — if only because I found it easy to follow along behind the other professional photographers as they marched (or ran) from one end of the field to the other, in order to get their equipment set up for what they expected would be the next great shot. By the end of the game, I had taken 1,100+ photos, including several of Michael Vick in a post-game locker-room interview; and from the sound of the clickety-click-clack of my fellow photographers, I could tell that many of them had taken several thousand. I’ll spare you the technical details of my feeble attempts to get some decent shots; I had picked up some good tips from the sports-photography chapter of Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography, and I did my best within the limitations of my equipment and my lack of familiarity with the situation.
What impressed me most about the whole experience was the scale of modern professional football — the scale of everything. It’s one thing to read that there are 80,000 people in a football stadium; it’s another thing to actually be there and hear the simultaneous roar of those 80,000 people as a quarterback is sacked or a long pass is completed. It’s one thing to read that a professional football player is 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 350 pounds; it’s another thing to stand next to several dozen such giants. Heck, I thought there were only 20 or 30 such giants on each team; I had no idea that there were 64 of them (a number which will be pared down as the pre-season comes to an end), or that there might be 20-30 different coaches. And then there are the hundreds of "staff members" scurrying around all over the place, carrying out their various duties and assignments; and there are the security guards and State Police, who spent most of the time scanning the stadium crowd rather than watching the players, presumably watching for scuffles or fights or … well, who knows what. There are cheerleaders too, in this case bearing the official name of New York Jets Flight Crew; I had expected half a dozen, but there were two dozen perky, long-haired beauties, with permanently frozen smiles, who who danced and pranced before the crowd at every conceivable opportunity.
All of this has resulted in the photos you’ll see in this album. I had to delete roughly a hundred of my original images, because they were out of focus, or because a referee decided to walk in front of my camera at the wrong moment; and another 900 were "okay," but not terribly exciting. I’m sure that none of them are as crisp, sharp, and well-composed as those taken by the Sports Illustrated photographer and the other professionals on the field; but I did end up with 72 "keepers" that I hope you’ll enjoy…
… and, yes, I probably will attend another football game or two in the years ahead. Whether I’m lucky enough to get down on the field again is anyone’s guess….
It’s Friday, February is officially over, Tommy B is a Patriot until he’s 40 – it’s been a good week. Time to celebrate! And what better way to celebrate with continuing the 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2012?
Well, I can think of a lot of ways. But at 11 AM on a weekday while everyone is at work? We could all do a lot worse.
To quickly recap, here is the list so far:
Now it’s time to keep the party going with what I think is the #18 Most Memorable Patriots Moment of 2012.
New England’s first meeting with the Dolphins in 2012 came on December 2nd, very late in the season. And once again, the Patriots came into Miami knowing that a win would wrap up the AFC East. In what was a sloppy first half for both teams, New England was able to jump out to a 17-10 lead at the half off of a botched Brandon Fields punt that led to a Stevan Ridley touchdown and a quick screen pass to Wes Welker. Once the second half started, though, New England had a hard time generating any offense whatsoever, scoring no points in the third quarter and managing only a field goal early in the fourth.
With the Patriots holding onto a 20-10 lead in a game that was surprisingly close, the Dolphins were once again driving downfield with frustrating efficiency. They had managed to work their way down to New England’s 13 yard line on a drive that started at their own 20 and saw huge gains by Brian Hartline, Reggie Bush, and a massive Pass Interference call on Aqib Talib that kept a drive alive. After a short pass to Charles Clay to give the Dolphins a 2nd and 4 at the 7, Ryan Tannehill lined up in shotgun and fired a quick pass over the middle to Brian Hartline, which fell incomplete.
On 3rd and 4 from the Patriots 7, Tannehil once again came out in shotgun with Reggie Bush lined up to the weak side. Mayo’s assignment was to spy Bush in coverage, but when he noticed that Bush was staying in to help block Trevor Scott off the edge, it allowed him to barrel through the gap on a delay blitz that absolutely slammed Tannehill for an 8 yard loss and a 4th down. It was a textbook hit that rattled Tannehill, held the Dolphins to a field goal, and allowed New England to go on to win the game 23-16.
Four main things caused me to put this sack at number 18 on the list. First, and most obviously, it was an absolutely monster hit and a phenomenal sack. I’d be amazed if that hit wasn’t on Mayo’s career highlight reel when he finally hangs up his cleats in 30 or 40 years. Secondly, it held the Dolphins to a field goal, which then allowed the Patriots to engineer a textbook drive that leaned heavily on the run, took over seven minutes off the clock, and allowed the Patriots to take a two score lead via a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Fourth, with the win over the Dolphins, the Patriots wrapped up the AFC East once again and were able to start focusing on securing a bye. And fourth, that game represented one of Tommy B’s least efficient games of the year; throwing for a very Sanchez-esque 238 yards with only one touchdown and a pick. Despite Brady’s mediocre day, The Pats D stepped up when it needed to and the run game came through in style; it gave me, and many others in Patriots Nation, hope that the defense could come up big when it mattered most, and that New England was now finally capable of closing out games on the ground instead of being forced to throw it while protecting a lead late and needing to keep that clock moving.
A trick play from a middle school football game in Texas has become a viral Internet sensation. Good Morning Cleveland’s Garrett Downing shares the clip with anchors Pete Kenworthy and Kimberly Gill.
Video Rating: 4 / 5