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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2011-08-31

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
Tunnel Vision

By Rod Mar

Photo by Rod Mar

Photo by Rod Mar

Seattle Seahawks safety Lawyer Milloy in the tunnel leading onto the field.
For NFL players, it's the final moment of relative solitude.

Before they hear their name called to run through the smoke and pyrotechnics of pregame introductions into the roar of 70,000 screaming fans, players wait in "the tunnel".

Former NFL linebacker Dave Wyman once described his thoughts inside that tunnel, as,"50 percent to go out and crush someone, 50 percent knowing how much it was going to hurt and wondering if I could just turn around and walk out of the stadium".

Like many photographers who cover the NFL, I've made countless images in and around the pregame tunnel. Front with a long lens? Check. Behind? Check. Wide-angle remote in the pyro zone? Low and wide from behind the player? Overhead? Check, check and check.

My position working as a team photographer for the Seattle Seahawks grants me access that others do not have. I am fortunate to have that access, and feel that for me not to take full advantage and share with fans what I am privy to see would be a waste. So late last season, I wandered into the heavy fog and flashing lights of the tunnel located in the southwest corner of CenturyLink Field with a Nikon 24-70mm/f2.8 lens to see what I could find.

It's actually quite crowded in that little tunnel. Along with the player, you can have a group as large as a television cameraman, stadium video camera, cable pullers, and a PR person keying the players as to when to run onto the field.

I squeezed myself against the hard metal railings that compose the inside of the tunnel, and shot as players came through, one by one.

Safety Lawyer Milloy entered, and even though he and I are friends, he not once even glanced in my direction. His eyes were laser focused straight ahead.

I had to guess at the exposure because of the roiling smoke and swirling strobe lights, but caught a nice moment just as he exhaled and you could see his breath against the dark background.

The stadium announcer's voice boomed, "and at strong safety, from the University of Washington, LAWYER MILLOY!" He slapped the sides of his head hard with his hands, and disappeared with a whoosh through the smoke and into the fray.


(Rod Mar is the team photographer for the Seattle Seahawks and formerly covered the sports beat for the Seattle Times. Rod is also on the faculty of the upcoming Sports Shooter Academy. You can see his work at his Sports Shooter member page: http://www.sportsshooter.com/members.html?id=20 )

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