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Leading Off

Four photographers who have shot almost* every Super Bowl pick their favorite images and share what they love about them


TONY TOMSIC Super Bowl I Jan. 15, 1967, at Los Angeles Packers 35, Chiefs 10 I went to the game on my own dime—got a round-trip ticket from Cleveland to Los Angeles for $116. I knew Green Bay was a straight-ahead, smashmouth football team, and I knew they would run the sweep. So on a couple of drives early in the game I moved after the ball was snapped, which is unheard of now. There were so few photographers and we had so much freedom. As Packers quarterback Bart Starr dropped back, I went around the corner of the end zone to get this shot. If you did that now, you'd trip over wires and God knows what. I didn't pick up Max McGee [85] until the very end. It was a long pass [a 13-yarder to make it 28--10]. There were other pictures I missed during the game because I was just having a good time. The ambience was almost like a high school game. It was just beautiful, festive—middle of the day, the sun was out, old-fashioned football. *Tomsic missed Super Bowl XLIX due to illness


WALTER IOOSS JR. Super Bowl IV Jan. 11, 1970, at New Orleans Chiefs 23, Vikings 7 You see old Tulane Stadium in the background, the sun setting, back when games were played in daylight. When you shoot vertically, you think cover, but it's not good for football because you're eliminating everything except a player or two. This didn't make the cover, but because of the combination of the moment and the sky, I shot it vertically. The end of the game is so interesting and so important in sports. What happens when it's over, and teams rejoice or lament? Hank Stram's and quarterback Len Dawson's hands about to meet, congratulating each other on the victory—it's sort of perfect. You really get a feel for the stadium and the moment. Even Robert Holmes—his body and hand reaching in—leads you right into Stram's and Dawson's hands. All the pictures come down to about a five-hundredths of a second. If their hands clasped, it was already over. And if Dawson were a half step farther to the center of the field, it wouldn't be interesting.


MICKEY PALMER Super Bowl XLII Feb. 3, 2008, at Glendale, Ariz. Giants 17, Patriots 14 I was focusing on Giants quarterback Eli Manning on this drive because the Patriots' defense was all over him and he was scrambling all over the place. And then I turned my camera real fast, and I was on the shot. I was very lucky to get it. I saw Manning scramble, so I figured I'd follow where he was throwing the ball. Right after I took the shot, I realized I'd got it. I was hoping it was sharp, because I was moving so fast, turning the camera to follow the play. It's the whole sequence of the shot. How receiver David Tyree went up, caught the ball on the back of his head and held onto it. Throughout the game I had been going crazy because I was on both sides of the field. First I thought New England was going to win, then I thought New York was going to win, then I thought New England was going to win. So I was basically going crazy. I was just hoping to get a good picture. A lot of it is luck, a lot of it is being at the right spot at the right time.


JOHN BIEVER Super Bowl XXII Jan. 31, 1988, at San Diego Redskins 42, Broncos 10 Redskins quarterback Doug Williams was injured on this play early in the first quarter, and then he came back and was the game's MVP, so there's a good story to the photo. Everything came together for this shot. The game was in San Diego, in the late afternoon, so there was some really rich light. And there's the composition—with the Denver defender [Rulon Jones] coming in, the flow of the picture moves toward Williams, and then to his mouth, which is wide open. You can't see Williams's eyes, but I don't think you need to because of his mouth. If it isn't open in this picture, or his leg isn't tucked in, it wouldn't work. And a second later the defender would be in his way, which would have wrecked it. It's got to be that exact moment. The fleeting moment. In that game I was floating, meaning I was able to go wherever I wanted. Now they have us all assigned to specific spots, but sometimes that leads to a great picture because your location happens to be the best spot for a particular play.


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