There are many ups and many downs to every NFL season, and many of those undulations by the Jets in their recently concluded season were captured mid-wave by our team photographer, Al Pereira, the lensman with the steadiest sea legs out there on the sidelines.
OK, enough with the ocean metaphor. We asked Al to riffle through the photographic Rolodex in his head and come up with, oh, the 22 best action photos from this season. Those photos are on the slideshow that is now live on the newyorkjets.com Fanzone section.
And now we turn it over to you, the most visually discerning fans in the game, and ask you to help us select the Best Jets Action Photo of ’11. And we’ve broken this contest into two parts for your enjoyment. Today we present the contest semifinals.
Those 22 photos, displayed in chronological order, can be viewed up close and personal by clicking on each shot in the slideshow. Take your time to savor each photo. Then vote. Alongside the photo display are five dropdown menus. In each menu, you can vote for one of the 22 semifinal frames. Vote for up to five of your favorite images, then click Submit.
We’ll end the semis, tabulate the results, and begin the finals all next Monday morning, when the five images that you’ve selected as the best of Al’s best will be shown alongside each other one more time. Then you’ll vote for your most favorite photo.
The voting in the finals will end Friday, Jan. 27, at noon ET, with the winning action photo unveiled shortly after.
And so we declare the Jets’ Best Action Photo of 2011 under way. Below is A.Pereira with some little background on his selection process and a skinny on each of his terrific 22. And send us a comment to the Radar on any or all of the photos here if you like. And now, here’s Al …
I’ve never found myself thinking in terms of Rod Stewart lyrics before. Honestly! But when my good friend and venerable Radar Ranger Randy Lange told me of the plans to put this “Best Jets Action Photo of ’11” contest together, I immediately started hearing “Every Picture Tells a Story” ringing through my head. And you know, in a GOOD way. Rod the Mod was on to something, maybe.
Every picture does tell a story, and the following photos will hopefully speak to you of some of the high points of the season that just finished. These are some of my favorite action shots … we’ll assemble another gallery soon, to include shots like these and also some of the behind-the-scenes views, portraits and other little gems.
For now, I feel honored to present this collection, where you can tell me which you like the best. With a few thoughts for each photo, here is my Best Jets Action Photo of ’11 gallery. Hope you like it!
1. Revis INT Return — I like Darrelle’s eyes in this shot. He makes the pick in the opener against Dallas and becomes a running back … sweet!
2. Folk Game-Winner — Big moment from an emotional night, 9/11/11, and Nick Folk wins it vs. the Cowboys. Not sure who looks happier, but it may be Brunell.
3. Scott Sack — Bart smacking the ball loose on a sack against the Jaguars. Like that you can see where his right hand made the strip … and in a Titans uni to boot!
4. Sanchez Intensity — Love the look on Mark’s face at Oakland. I have a lot of these kinds of shots. He’s a real leader. That “C” looks good. And like the logo on his mouthguard.
5. Sanchez TD — When Mark gets close to the goal line, he’s a juggernaut. My favorite Sanchez TD this year, Superman coming in low vs. Miami …
6. Harris Crunch — I like David burying QBs, which he does quite often. This one resulted in another Revis INT.
7. Mangold Point — Nick is also a strong leader. You can see he’s all business here against the Chargers.
8. Wilson INT — This is a cool interception shot in the SD game. Those are tricky to get because, well, if they were easy to anticipate, QBs would go the other way! Kyle Wilson’s first of his career and you can see the intended receiver’s frustration behind this athletic pick.
9. Holmes TD — Speaking of athletic, Santonio makes plays all the time that almost make me stop shooting just to admire them. Almost. If I did I wouldn’t have been able to catch a great TD like this at Buffalo as he twists through three defenders. That’s “Tone Time” all over!
10. Slauson TD — Matt at Denver. A guard scoring and spiking?? Enough said!
11. ST Gang Tackle — Kickoff coverage swarms over Cassius Vaughn at Denver. Love these kinds of gang shots. You can see how special teams is a real group effort.
12. Pace Pressure — Calvin doesn’t get enough chatter from fans, in my opinion. Nice effort in harassing a QB that had a pretty good year.
13. Keller TD Jam — Dustin is really a great player, great dude, and an even better subject. Good air on the TD spike here at home against Buffalo.
14. Burress Wingspan — Big play by a big receiver in the big home game vs. the Bills. Plax makes it look easy.
15. Sanchez Windup — Good form and a strong look from No. 6 as he gets ready to fire at Washington.
16. Greene Tightrope — Beautiful effort by Shonn at the pylon vs. the Chiefs. High-flying Jet!
17. Pouha Sack — Sione really came on as a leader this year. And he is just eating KC’s Tyler Palko alive!
18. Burress Stretch — One more from Plax, and the prettiest TD of the year, in my opinion — a one-hander at Philadelphia. We liked it so much you can pick the sequence up as Wallpaper if you’d like.
19. Harris Takedown — I like Eli Manning, I really do. Like him best when we’re knocking him around, though. Here David Harris, with assist from Bart Scott, jar the ball loose, but Eli was ruled down by contact. Hmmm…
20. Wilkerson Sack — My favorite sack of the year, from the rookie DE. Eli does NOT look happy here!
21. Keller Reach — Another day, another play for Dustin. He takes it to another level in the red zone at Miami.
22. Cromartie INT — Was happy to capture this one. A real battle for the ball the Dolphins’ Brian Hartline — and a fine pick as the Cro flies!
Tags: Al Pereira, Best Jets Action Photo of '11, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dustin Keller, Mark Sanchez, Plaxico Burress, Shonn Greene
Posted in Al Pereira, Randy Lange | 153 Comments »
The New Home Of The Jets proffered a cozy spot for one of New Jersey’s favorite sons recently when Jon Bon Jovi played the first concerts in the New Meadowlands Stadium. So well received was he that he’ll be back for another tilt in early July.
I was among the fortunate who saw JBJ and his band turn in their usual fahhhhbulous performance on opening night, swaying between his Jersey Shore-fire combo of fist-pumping anthems and tender ballads to the delight of a full house. NMS may be the new kid on the block but for the most part it stepped up to put on a show that you would expect from the NFL’s most mod new spot.
Bon Jovi always seems to turn up in big spots, like the NFL’s Kickoff Concert in Times Square shortly after 9/11 (for which I have always given him the utmost props), charity events and probably the odd supermarket opening if he felt one of his fans thought he might turn up. Fueled by his restless heart and rock and roll strut and aided and abetted by guitarist Richie Sambora’s swinging hooks, all of that only added to the fact that just the day before, the NMS was tabbed for the 2014 Super Bowl.
While Bon Jovi played, Jets owner Woody Johnson and center Nick Mangold served up hunks of an enormous cake to celebrate. Ahh, if it can be said with music, Jets and Cake, then I want to hear it.
Tags: Al Pereira, new Meadowlands stadium, Nick Mangold, Woody Johnson
Posted in Al Pereira | 16 Comments »
Working for the Green & White means never a dull summer. Not when training camp means training camp in Cortland, N.Y.
Where other team photographers no doubt shrug when asked to complete their back-to-school assignments, I’ve got a nice "How I Spent My Summer" scenario. Coach Rex has once again moved the camp operation to SUNY Cortland’s central New York campus, and that means another nice place to go to work.
Cortland provides a fantastic setting for fostering team unity, away from the usual hustle and bustle. There’s rolling hills, fresh air, wonderful fans, Doug’s Fish Fry, lots of sunshine (except when it’s raining, of course), a nice stadium with great sightlines, and have I mentioned Doug’s Fish Fry? A place that helped shape last season’s exciting team.
I’d like to show you some of my favorite moments from our first trip up a year ago. I hope you enjoy them.
Tags: Cortland, Rex Ryan, training camp
Posted in Al Pereira | 10 Comments »
The weather outside was indeed frightful Sunday night as our beloved New York Jets closed out their 26-year run off-Broadway at the Meadowlands. But like the song says, inside it was just delightful. The popsicle-friendly weather did little to dampen the spirits of the full house, or the team, as a crisp 37-0 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals meant a playoff berth and, just as important, the Green & White were able to close out the place in style.
From a pregame tour of our new home, the New Meadowlands Stadium, with Jets greats recent and vintage, to the bombastic introductions, it was a night of fireworks and fun. The halftime ceremony was one for the ages, with players from each year of our tenure charging upfield from the tunnel to thunderous applause.
You know the story of what took place between the whistles. Any night that ends with Kerry Rhodes and Mark Sanchez giving coach Rex Ryan a Gatorade bath has got to be good, no? For an encore, the entire team took a victory lap that is surely among the greatest memories at the stadium.
I’ve gathered up my favorite shots from that electric night, with two assists — Henry O’s dramatic shot of Mark Sanchez before the intros and Lee Weisman’s heroic stadium shot. Hope you like them all. If home is where the heart is, then the Meadowlands will always be with us.
Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, Kerry Rhodes, Meadowlands, Rex Ryan
Posted in Al Pereira | 20 Comments »
One of my favorite moments of this never-a-dull-moment Jets season happened just before it got started at our annual kickoff luncheon. The Green & White honored our colorful radio color man, Marty Lyons, and well done, too, as Lyons really can be considered what it means to be a Jet.
Everybody loves Marty. The fans flock to him. Elderly women swoon and ask for a hug from the gentle giant. Kids run across the parking lot at the stadium to have him toss a ball to them. Heck, I’ve seen dogs run across the parking lot to have him toss a ball to them, but that might just be their thing.
No, come to think of it, Marty’s always got time for everyone, no matter how furry. Marty’s been The Man ever since being selected 14th overall in the 1979 draft out of Alabama. Playing at defensive end and defensive tackle, he became the CEO of the fabled New York Sack Exchange, terrorizing opponents and helping to push the team to the 1982 AFC Championship Game. His career stretched from 1979-89 with 135 starts by No. 93, always a leader and usually the spark.
While Marty provided many great plays on the field, it is off the field that he truly has been an inspiration. He established the Marty Lyons Foundation in 1982 to fulfill the special wishes of children aged 3 to 17 who have been diagnosed with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. They’ve helped with everything from renovating a home to allow the child to stay with their family in comfort to Disney trips, celebrity visits and a chance to swim with dolphins — the good kind, not the ones that play down in Miami. But I’m sure that he would help make that happen, too, if it was a child’s dream.
At the kickoff luncheon, Marty delighted the packed house at Cipriani Wall Street with funny stories and touching anecdotes about his involvement in the community. He was the same way you’ve no doubt heard him on the air each week and possibly seen him hold court at countless golf outings, kids clinics and team functions. For a guy once flagged for giving Jim Kelly “The Business,” he’s actually a pretty straight shooter who’s fun, funny, welcoming and humble and someone I’m thrilled to call my friend.
With all that in mind, here are some of My Favorite Martys, some photos I’ve taken and many gathered from our archives. Hope you enjoy the view!
Tags: kickoff luncheon, Marty Lyons, Marty Lyons Foundation, Sack Exchange
Posted in Al Pereira | 12 Comments »
I’ve known Winston Hill was special for a long time now. How long? Ever since the week when, during his playing days, my mom brought home a loaf of Wonder Bread and it had a football card inside as a premium. It was Winston Hill of my beloved New York Jets, left tackle and perennial All-Star. “Great!” I thought, “How lucky is this?”
A few days later, new loaf of bread. Sure enough six or eight slices in, the card appears and ”Wow! Winston Hill! TWICE! This guy has GOT to be good,” my young mind told me. I think my buddy Rich Alifano got some guy named Namath’s card, but by then my mind was already made up — this Winston Hill fellow is Two-Loaves Good, and I’m going to keep my eye on him.
As a young fan, it really paid off, as Hill had many a great day protecting the guy on Rich’s card, much to the delight of Jets fans everywhere.
In putting together this Winston Hill gallery, I was hard-pressed to find a volume of shots — didn’t the photographers back then eat bread? But we feel there is a nice variety here for you to enjoy. My two favorites are Winston Hill going through the snap in a posed shot — the old “Huck ‘n’ Buck” football photography approach where athletes mimicked actual plays, sometimes without helmets, to benefit slow photogs and slower equipment, and the nice portrait I was able to unearth of him with teammate Sherman Plunkett, No. 79, who is no longer with us.
I’ve rounded out the gallery with a selection of photos from the Nov. 1 weekend, when Hill and some of his old mates visited head coach Rex Ryan at practice, and then attended “Winston Hill Day” on the field at halftime of the Dolphins game.
And yes, I still have those two cards!
Tags: Joe Namath, Rex Ryan, Winston Hill
Posted in Al Pereira | 16 Comments »