Hunter Martin has been photographing Philadelphia-area sporting events since 1987 including the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Super Bowl is the biggest one-day sporting event in the country. The atmosphere on gameday was surreal. As a lifelong Eagles fan, it was thrilling, yet nerve-racking at the same time, to be a part of such a historic event. The hours leading up to kickoff were intense. There were celebrities, dignitaries and former football legends everywhere. Despite the emotions of wanting to cheer for the team, there was a job to be done, and with all of the attention paid toward the Super Bowl capturing every possible moment was important because any one of them could be a defining moment in the game.
This photo was captured just after the National Anthem. I positioned myself about a foot onto the field at the 50-yard line. I was getting sideline portraits of head coach Andy Reid, quarterback Donovan McNabb, running back Brian Westbrook and safety Brian Dawkins. The light from the upper deck of ALLTEL Stadium was going to cause an issue when I turned to take a picture of Dawkins. I lined it up so the light would be behind his head. I was set to take the photo when he pointed up to the sky. The light created a halo effect.
This picture was symbolic because of the weight of the day and what the game meant. With the Super Bowl patch visible in the picture, it was not just another ordinary game. This photo wouldn’t be as effective if anyone other than Dawkins was the subject. As the spiritual leader of that team, Dawkins played with so much passion. When I reviewed the photos, this is one jumped out at me because of how all the elements came together.
The lighting and the exposure were good. It was a tremendous experience being able to capture the Eagles’ Super Bowl journey.