Nick Foles Makes History—And Nice Pictures

Tuesday November 5th, 2013

Nick Foles was at the center of history in Oakland. Nick Foles was at the center of history in Oakland, in just his ninth NFL start.

By Emily Kaplan | Photographs by Jed Jacobsohn

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED photographer Jed Jacobsohn arrived at the Coliseum in Oakland on Sunday to work on two SI feature stories—one on Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, one on Eagles coach Chip Kelly. So for most of the the first half of the game between the Raiders and the Eagles, Jacobsohn focused on his subjects. He maneuvered around the field, capturing nuances and reactions that could help tell their larger story.

“I even spent time shooting those big play cards the Eagles hold up, of cheesesteaks and Rocky Balboa,” Jacobsohn said.

In the meantime, second-year Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, starting in place of the injured Michael Vick, was throwing a lot of touchdowns. Jacobsohn captured most of the scoring action in the course of his game shooting and knew that Philly’s quarterback was having an improbably good day. He didn’t realize how good, though, until Foles’s sixth touchdown pass, in the third quarter. Another photographer alerted Jacobsohn on the sidelines, explaining that Foles—yes, Michael Vick’s 24-year-old backup—was approaching the NFL record.

“At that moment my priority definitely changed,” Jacobsohn said. 

He needed to get the shot of touchdown number seven—and possibly eight.

Shooting at the Coliseum has always been tricky. Police stand in a row on the sideline facing the crowd, in front of where photographers can shoot, obstructing their already-limited sight lines. “It’s the only stadium that I know of that has this,” said Jacobsohn, who has been shooting the NFL since he was 16, including about eight games a year for the last 18 years.

So Jacobsohn parked himself in the end zone to capture Foles’ next strike, TD number seven, which would tie him with six other quarterbacks—Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Y.A. Tittle, Joe Kapp and Peyton Manning. He was in good position to catch Foles’ delivery on the five-yard TD pass to Riley Cooper on second-and-goal late in the third quarter, “but I wasn’t in great position to get Foles’ reaction, as I was dealing with the whole issue of covering games at Oakland,” Jacobsohn explained. 

Foles had pointed to the sky, and Jacobsohn got an OK shot, though a referee got in the way—not uncommon for any football game, just frustrating. “It was OK, though, because the shot I really wanted was the record-breaking one,” the photographer said. 

Jacobsohn liked his chances; there was still a whole quarter to play. “I shot a lot of Chip Kelly when he was at Oregon,” Jacobsohn said. “And he never had a problem running up the score.” (The Ducks' margin of victory in 2012 was about five touchdowns).

With about nine minutes remaining, though, Kelly replaced Foles with rookie Matt Barkley.  “I was shocked,” Jacobsohn said. “I couldn’t believe they took him out.” Jacobsohn focused on the sideline to capture shots of Foles reaction, and interactions with Vick. “He didn’t seem to be bothered by being sidelined,” Jacobsohn said.

But the photographer—and all NFL fans—were left wondering, what could have been. 

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