The Catch 2

Postseason against the 49ers is always fun. I was lucky enough to be there for the last three meetings. The first was at Lambeau Field in 1997 when the Packers won the NFC Divisional game 35-14. The second was at 3Com Park in San Francisco when the Packers won 23-10 in the NFC Championship game. The third, also at 3Com, was in 1999 during a dramatic back-and-forth game.

Everyone knows about “The Catch”. It was in 1982. Sports Illustrated photographer Walter Iooss captured a wonderful photograph of 49ers receiver Dwight Clark pulling down a Joe Montana pass in the end zone that sent the team to their first Super Bowl. I was 16-years-old and just dabbling in photography.

Fast forward to 1999. I was now 33-years-old and lucky enough to witness what some call “The Catch 2″ from field level for The Post-Crescent.

It was an exciting back-and-forth game. But, it was the last minute or two that put the excitement and stress to a whole other level. Honestly, it was horrifying.

Equipment failure … big time.

With the clock ticking and the 49ers looking for a come-from-behind win, I took off my teleconverter. When I tried to put my camera back on my 400mm lens, the lens mount practically fell off!

The problem? Multiple screws had become loose and I could not get the camera to fit on the lens. I was desperate, but luckily I had an assistant, we call them runners, with me. I told him I would give him either $20 or $50 bucks (can’t remember the exact amount) if he could be fast enough to sprint to the photo work room, find a mini-screw driver I had in my camera bag and get back to me all during a time-out.

To my amazement he did it and I managed to get things working literally as the teams approached the line of scrimmage for the next play. Whew!

My positioning on the play wasn’t too bad. I remember the sidelines being crowded and I remember being a bit shaken up with the whole equipment issue. This was the shot I ended up getting of Terrell Owens pulling down the 25-yard game-winning touchdown reception with 8 seconds left …

owens2The focus is more on linebacker Brian Williams on the right to be honest. That still bothers me to this day. But it was sharp enough to run smaller alongside the reaction photo I got of Owens reacting to making the catch …

owens1I am traveling to San Francisco on Friday ready to cover yet another big matchup between these two teams. I am excited to say the least. Drama makes for great pictures. But I’m enjoying this too much for it to end on Saturday night.

So, I’ll take a nice dominating victory Saturday, thank you very much. Let’s save the drama for New Orleans! Thanks for stopping by … Dan.

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