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|| News Item: Posted 1999-02-04

RANT: Ban the Scrum
By Robert Hanashiro

We nearly killed John Elway.


As the final seconds ticked off the clock in Pro Player Stadium Sunday in Denver's 34-19 Super Bowl win over Atlanta, what I witnessed and became a part of was probably the worst scrum I've seen in 20 years in this business.

Photographers and TV crews came from everywhere to envelope Elway as he made his way across the field to find his family and then take the stage for the Lombardi Trophy presentation at the 50 yard line.

Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters
While maybe 4 or 5 photographers that had some how slipped in front of Elway were making semi-decent frames, the other 100 or so were left to do the dreaded "Hail Mary." And pray...not for a good image, but that you would some how survive with out bruises and cuts and that your gear would be semi-intact.

As I later scrolled through the images I had blindly shot of Elway, I noticed not the joy of a two-time Super Bowl winner, but rather the face of a truly pissed off and maybe scared athlete. What should have been a time to enjoy was now a time of concern as he searched for his wife and children and fended off wide angle lenses pushed into his face.

As we approached the fenced off area near the stage, yellow-jacked security personnel were literally throwing photographers out of the way. Later, in the media trailer compound, stories of people getting trampled, tripping over network TV cables and getting shoved around by security and fellow photographers alike were being retold over and over.

Far be it for me to promote Gestapo tactics in dealing with the media at big events, but if we can not display self-control, common courtesy and common sense, maybe it's time that it's forced on us.

At the NCAA Tournament and the World Series, a 10-15 second waiting period is enforced as the players start their celebration. Only a limited number of network TV crews are allowed on the field of play during that brief time. No scrum. A clear view of the participants and everyone gets an opportunity to make a picture.

Of course football, with a 100-yard field and 20 times the number of photographers, this would be a bitch to implement. And there would ALWAYS be some asshole (well, probably several) that would break ranks and jump out in the field blocking everyone else.

The only solution is that offending people be beaten senseless and never allowed credentials to a NFL event again.

Tough talk.

But I'm sure John Elway and his family wouldn't mind.

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