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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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December 16, 2007 8:37 PM

Seahawks: You'll Punt Your Eye Out, Kid!

Posted by Rod Mar

Okay, I just got through photographing one of the most boring football games I've ever attended.

Certainly not boring in terms of Carolina players or fans, for whom the 13-10 victory over Seattle was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season.

And not boring for the Seahawks, who hit a speed bump in an otherwise good stretch of wins. Head coach Mike Holmgren made clear his team will NOT be bored as they practice this week for next Sunday's game at home against the Baltimore Ravens.

But certainly boring in terms of photographs, which is my only concern on game day. Don't care who wins, who loses, who plays well, who sucks. Not unless any of the above has anything to do with good photos.

How boring was it?

Here's a rundown of how each team's offensive drives ended in the first half:

Seattle:

— punt

— punt

— punt

— punt

— punt

— punt

Carolina:

— punt

— missed field goal

— punt

— punt

— punt

— punt

I'm sure any of you who started watching the game on television turned it off before halftime. If you didn't, you need therapy. Alternately, isn't this the time of year that "A Christmas Story" plays over and over on TNT? That's way better than this football game was in terms of entertainment.

"You'll punt your eye out, kid..."

Unless you like looking at a sports section full of punting pictures (and let me tell you, mine are special...), you can conclude that I was one frustrated shooter at halftime.

I tried to not get too stressed, telling myself, "it's an NFL game so something exciting will happen".

Something would happen, right?

Nothing did. The third quarter wasn't any better. Only Ryan Plackemeier's mother could be happy with this punt-fest.

In fact, the game turned on one play, but that play didn't happen until there was only 1:44 left in the game. And while the play was devastating for the Seahawks, it worked out okay for me.

It almost didn't. When Carolina's Thomas Davis knocked the ball from the hand of Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, setting off a mad chase that resulted in the Panthers' Richard Marshall recovering it, I was...completely blocked.

Seattle has been so good in the two-minute drill that I was confident they'd move the ball down the field, even though I didn't know if they would score. Accordingly, I positioned myself on the Seattle sideline, downfield on the other end of the bench area. This way I was covered in case the Seahawks got into scoring territory, and I would have some shot if there was a fumble or interception.

I apparently might have been wrong on that last assumption.

For when "the Big Play" happened, I was 40 yards downfield looking at this:



(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 800, 1/1000 sec, f4.0)

Yes, that's the head of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck peeking through those big linemen. I hear the crowd and sense the turnover, but all I see is Hasselbeck trying to find the ball:


(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 800, 1/1000 sec, f4.0)

Good stuff, eh?



(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 800, 1/1000 sec, f4.0)

Simply award winning. Someone call the Pulitzer committee!

And then, the dreaded "ref's butt" steps in and I get these two prize-winning frames in the middle of the ONLY significant play of the game. I actually have more than one frame of his rear, but I think you get the idea:



(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 800, 1/1000 sec, f4.0)

Luckily for me, as the Panthers celebrate, Hasselbeck turns and holds his hands to his helmet for what seems like an eternity (and trust me, when you have NO pictures to show for your day with only two minutes left in the game, it does seem like forever):



(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 800, 1/1000 sec, f4.0)

I also cropped a version of another frame that we decided was a better frame because it was more immediate and cleaner:



(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 800, 1/1000 sec, f4.0)

It was a weird and boring game that lacked any significant action or photos for 58 minutes and 16 seconds before we had a chance to make a good picture.

I wish I had a shot of the actual fumble, but I think the shot of Hasselbeck sums up their day pretty well.

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