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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2008-04-29

Winning Moments: Best Feature: 'Better Bring Your Popcorn'
'T.O. is touchdown theater.'

By Albert Dickson, Sporting News

Photo by Albert Dickson / Sporting News

Photo by Albert Dickson / Sporting News

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens celebrates a touchdown against he Green Bay Packers at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX, on Nov. 29, 2007.
(Editors Note: We asked those awarded 1st place in the Sports Shooter Newsletter Annual Contest to write a short piece to give us a behind-the-scenes look at what went into their winning entry. To see all of the winners in this years contest, check this link: http://www.sportsshooter.com/2007_contest_winners/index.html.)

There is a rule in event photography, a rule frequently not followed, that you should keep your eye to the camera well after the action of the play is done. No chimping until later, folks.

Take this rule and magnify its importance tenfold when you deal with some of the true showmen of the NFL.

In my years of shooting the NFL, there have been several masters of the theatrical celebration. Deion Sanders and his post TD dance. Brett Favre turning towards to his sideline with arms to the sky, every time looking like it was the first time that he had ever scored. Ocho Cinco, Chad Johnson, and his River Dance. Randy Moss and the Lambeau Moon. Joe Horn and his cell phone.

Then there is Terrell Owens of the Dallas Cowboys. Think of him what you will, but the man is a huge talent and is great for photos. He has a rich history of creative post - T.D. celebrations. As a 49er, standing at the center of the Dallas Cowboys Star at midfield with arms outstretched. Taking a cheerleader's pom poms for a victory dance. Whipping out the sharpie for an impromptu autograph on the football he scored with.

T.O. is touchdown theater.

I was in Dallas to cover the Cowboys game against the Green Bay Packers in late November. It had been a tight game with good action early on. After the half, the Cowboys started to widen their lead. Favre had been knocked out of the game and Tony Romo had the 'Boys on a long drive.

I knelt in a corner of the end zone in a position that would allow me to see all the way across to the other sideline, thinking that there would be a receiving TD deep in the end zone. At another game I might have a different strategy. It's instinct mostly.

When the touchdown throw came to Owens, it was an unremarkable shot for me. He fell towards the other sideline if my memory is accurate. Remembering his other post-TD moments, I kept on him. He ducked into folks standing deep in the end zone and disappeared into the crowd for a moment. Then the popcorn went flying. It was over in a second.

For those of you who shoot NFL games, I have a question. How many folks do you see on the sideline standing around munching on popcorn? Not too many, I'd say.

I think that this tasty snack was a prop in the hands of a Cowboys' operative, just waiting to be the next installment of touchdown theater.

Related Links:
Dickson's member page

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