Living in the Moment

In the NFL winning isn’t always pretty, nor perfect. At the end of the game all that really matters is whether or not your team comes out on top. Sure you’d love to execute every play flawlessly, but it doesn’t always happen that way. As a player, you have to be a perfectionist. If the desire to perform at the highest level isn’t there, when challenges arise you will certainly fall short.

As a photographer, I am a perfectionist. I want to take the perfect picture of every moment, every game. Is this realistic? Of course not. The unpredictability of the NFL often pushes this goal just out of reach. But part of my job is capturing the moments that define the day.

In the final seconds of the 4th quarter, with the Ravens leading the Bengals and poised to win, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw up a hail mary pass into the end zone. The ball was mistakingly tipped up by Ravens safety James Ihedigbo and caught by Bengals receiver A.J. Green for a touchdown to tie the game and force overtime. From a neutral perspective, this could be considered the key play of the game. Well, from the Ravens perspective, that is probably something they’d like to forget.

The Ravens went on to win after Justin Tucker kicked a 46 yard field goal. At the end of a thrilling victory like this there is always a mess of players and media running around the field, pushing and shoving, all trying to get their shot. Many times you are either too close or a little too far away to get the shot you want. But in the midst of it all, you keep shooting. It just so happened that in the chaos Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch turned my way and ended up right in my face…a little too close for comfort.  I made a picture.

Is it perfect? No. Would I love if there was more room at the top of the frame? Absolutely. In fact, originally I wasn’t even going to share that image. I was really upset with myself.

But the more I looked at it, I realized…THIS is the moment.

This is the moment when for a few minutes the Ravens remembered what winning felt like.

This is the moment when they forgot they had lost 4 out of the last 5 games.

The image has some technical flaws, but I am willing to accept them because I think it captures the overwhelming emotion of the day.

I’ll take it.

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