34th Annual Photo Contest (2001 NFL Season)
Dave Boss Award of Excellence, 2001 (Photo of the Year)
Feature Winner – Mike Nowak, San Diego Chargers
San Diego Chargers' team photographer Mike Nowak has won the Dave Boss Award of Excellence for Photograph of the Year in the 34th Annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Photo Contest. His winning entry titled "Freedom" features Chargers' quarterback Doug Flutie sprinting onto the field and waving an American flag with the backdrop of an inflatable Chargers helmet and the crowd. The emotional moment took place on September 30, 2001 as the Chargers played their first home game following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The prestigious contest, sponsored by Canon, the official camera of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is open to professional photographers ordinarily on assignment to cover National Football League games. Photos taken during the 2001 NFL season, which included Super Bowl XXVI on February 3, 2002, and the Pro Bowl a week later, were eligible.
Nowak's entry was the first place winner in the feature category. The first place winner in the action category was Christopher Gardner of the Associated Press. Gardner's image, titled "Football," shows Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and New England Patriots cornerback Ty Law battling during the AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Nowak will be officially honored at the Mayor's Breakfast, part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement celebration, on August 2, 2002 in front of a sellout crowd of 4,000 people. That function is the first event in which the Hall of Fame Class of 2002 enshrinees - George Allen, Dave Casper, Dan Hampton, Jim Kelly, and John Stallworth - are introduced to the public. The 11-day enshrinement celebration is highlighted by the induction of the new class on August 3 and the AFC-NFC Hall of Fame Game two days later. This year's game showcases the expansion Houston Texans versus the New York Giants on Monday night, August 5.
Judging for this year's contest was conducted on April 5, by a panel of prominent photo editors and photographers. The judges included Michael Feldman, senior photo editor, Associated Press; John Iacono, Sports Illustrated; Dave LaBelle, assistant managing editor/photography, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Paul Spinelli, director-photo services, NFL Publishing; and Tony Tomsic, free-lance photographer, Rocky River, Ohio.
See the winners of the 34th Annual Photo Contest
Action Photo Gallery Feature Photo Gallery