Last Sunday was my first time to cover an NFL Championship Game for USA Today and I had a total blast! My assignment was to roam the Broncos sideline during the first half and then do the same on the Patriots sideline during the second half. Considering the game was in Denver in January, I brought all sorts of winter clothes that I hadn’t worn since I was in Sochi!
We got lucky though and the weather was pretty delightful! In fact, the sun even popped out for a couple of quarters and provided some AMAZING light at times. I’d love to shoot at this stadium on a totally sunny day as the images simply pop!
As everyone knows, this was more than likely the last matchup between superstar quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. In fact, if Denver had lost, it might have been Manning’s last game period. Well, as luck what have it, Manning wasn’t ready to call it quits just yet.
Manning and Brady get ready…
I happened to get a shot of the two eventual stars of the game together right before kickoff…
Hip hop artist T.I. was in the house too! Nothing “Mediocre” about that. 🙂
For Manning’s introduction, I chose to try to show the scoreboard and more of the overall scene when he ran out…
Here is some of that sweet sunlight that I mentioned earlier…
Here are several game action ones…
Always good when you can get Brady and Gronk in the same photo..
I had to include one of my favorite “Best Men and wannabe photographers” from a wedding I photographed (Steven Jackson) as he celebrated scoring a touchdown!
Owen Daniels had a great game with two touchdowns…
It was a rough day for Tom Brady as he got hit a ton! He will probably have Von Miller nightmares for awhile!
James White was SOOO close to making this catch, but as bad luck would have it for me, he missed it.
I am convinced that Gronk is Superhuman.
Since I was on the Patriots sidelines, I concentrated on the Tom Brady storyline near the end of the game.
So the one shot that almost all photographers in attendance wanted to get was the handshake between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. I knew that this moment would pretty much be a giant moshpit and sure enough it was even worse than I imagined! A HUGE thanks to Canon’s CPS for providing me with the new 11-24mm lens so I was able to get several decent photos showing the whole madness as well as some tight closeups of the two quarterbacks. Since I was on the Patriots sideline, I pretty much stuck to Brady like glue after the game and waited for the throngs of media surrounding Manning to come to us. Once they met, it was pure chaos, but a very cool moment nonetheless. 🙂
Manning tells Belichek that this was probably his last “Rodeo” and then walks off the field waving at fans along the way.
It was also great to see a good guy like Demarcus Ware get to celebrate! I had a really cool portrait shoot with Demarcus for the Sporting News a long time ago during the NFL Strike and I think he still remembers it since it was at a Hummer dealership turned into a gym. He gave me a little wink when he saw me and I could tell that he was over the moon at the chance to win a Superbowl.
And finally, a pretty happy John Elway and Gary Kubiak.
It was also great to see that my photos were the lead shots for the USA Today Sports section two days in a row!
This was my last football game this season but am definitely looking forward to even more fun next year!
KJ Images Photography
3832 Summersville Ln
Keller, TX 76244