Top photos of 2022 NFL season revealed in Hall of Fame’s annual contest
Image titled ‘Comfort’, taken moments after Damar Hamlin’s collapse on field, wins Photograph of the Year
The tense, chaotic and angst-filled moments following the collapse of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin on the playing field in Cincinnati fueled the raw emotion captured in the Photograph of the Year for the 2022 National Football League season.
Dylan Buell, a photographer for Getty Images, submitted “Comfort” in the 55th annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Photo Contest, and a panel of judges has declared it the winner of the Dave Boss Award of Excellence.
“Comfort” shows Bills center Mitch Morse embracing cornerback Tre'Davious White a short distance from the spot where training staff and medical officials were providing Hamlin with life-saving aid. The game, at Paycor Stadium on Jan. 2, 2023, was canceled following the near-fatal incident.
“When reviewing a historic night like this, it can be difficult to choose just one photo from the event,” Buell said after learning he was this year’s Dave Boss Award of Excellence winner. “However, it wasn’t long before this photo in particular stood out to me. The action is subtle, but speaks volumes about both the relationship between these two players and their bond with their teammate.”
Buell grew up in northwest Indiana as a fan of football and the Chicago Bears. He attended Ball State University and worked at the Ball State Daily News as a photographer but did not intend to pursue photography as a career. He was on track to earn his degree in secondary education.
Passion became profession, however, and immediately upon graduating, Buell took a job with the State-Journal in Frankfort, Ky. After four years, he joined Getty as a full-time freelancer based in Wisconsin. In the spring of 2021, he moved to Cincinnati.
“It’s probable I am one of the least likely recipients of this award. I never took any photography classes in college, never had an internship or was ever accepted into a prestigious photography workshop,” Buell said. “Instead, I surrounded myself with wonderful colleagues who supported, encouraged and educated me. I am proof that with enough hard work and a willingness to listen, you can be successful. I am incredibly honored to be chosen for this award. To have my work recognized in this way will certainly go down as one of the highlights of my career.”
The Hall of Fame’s prestigious contest is open to professional photographers on assignment to cover NFL games. Photos taken during the 2022 NFL season, including Super Bowl LVII, were eligible. Buell’s entry was the first-place winner in the Feature category, while Miami Dolphins photographer Brennan Asplen won first in the Action category. His photo, “When Worlds Collide,” captured Dolphins linebacker Elandon Roberts making a stop over the middle in a game against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 30, 2022, in Detroit.
Judging was conducted in mid-May by a panel of five prominent photo editors and photographers: Chris Carlson, Associated Press; Terrell Lloyd, director of photography and lead team photographer for the San Francisco 49ers; Marguerite Schropp Lucarelli, director of photography at Sports Illustrated; Brad Smith, vice president of photography at WWE; and Kevin Terrell, photographer-image creator/photo editor for Kevin Terrell Photography.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame will present Buell with his award at the Enshrinees Roundtable event, Aug. 6, during Enshrinement Week for the Class of 2023.
55TH ANNUAL PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME PHOTO CONTEST (2022 SEASON)
Dave Boss Award of Excellence, 2022 (Photo of the Year)
Feature Winner – Dylan Buell, Getty Images
First Place – Dylan Buell, Getty Images, “Comfort,” Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals, Jan. 2, 2023. (Image shown above.)
Second Place – Sarah Snyder, New York Jets, “On the Cusp,” Buffalo Bills at New York Jets, Nov. 6, 2022.
Third Place – Jeffrey Nguyen, Detroit Lions, “Mark of a Lion,” Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, Jan. 1, 2023.
Honorable Mention – Brandon Magnus, AMB Sports & Entertainment, “King Koo,” Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons, Oct. 30, 2022.
Honorable Mention – Brandon Magnus, AMB Sports & Entertainment, “Game Face,” San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons, Oct. 16, 2022.
Honorable Mention – Brandon Magnus, AMB Sports & Entertainment, “A Star is Born,” New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons, Sept. 11, 2022.
Honorable Mention – Don Juan Moore, Outlook News/Getty Images, “We R Here 2 Protect Our House,” Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars, Jan. 14, 2023.
Honorable Mention – Lauren Sopourn, Freelance/Miami Dolphins,” Dolphins in the Spotlight,” Las Vegas Raiders at Miami Dolphins, Aug. 20, 2022.
Honorable Mention – Zach Tarrant, Houston Texans, “Moore Glory,” Houston Texans at Las Vegas Raiders, Oct. 23, 2022.
Honorable Mention – Kyle Zedaker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, “22 Prayers,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers, Oct. 23, 2022.
Second Place – David Richard, Freelance/Associated Press, “Finger Pickens Good,” Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns, Sept. 22, 2022.
Third Place – Brad Rempel, USA Today, “Jefferson Dive,” Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings, Oct. 9, 2022.
Honorable Mention – Kourtney Carroll, Washington Commanders, “Reach,” Washington Commanders at Philadelphia Eagles, Nov. 14, 2022.
Honorable Mention – Ryan Meyer, Cincinnati Bengals, “White Out,” Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills, Jan. 22, 2023.
Honorable Mention – David Rosenblum, Icon Sportswire, “Head Over Heels,” Las Vegas Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars, Nov. 6, 2022.
Honorable Mention – Nathan Ray Seebeck, USA Today Sports, “Look Out,” Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Nov. 6, 2022.
Honorable Mention – Lauren Sopourn, Freelance/Miami Dolphins, “Coming for Cousins,” Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins, Oct. 16, 2022.
Honorable Mention – Matthew Stockman, Getty Images, “Bucked Bronco,” Houston Texans at Denver Broncos, Sept. 18, 2022.
Honorable Mention – Dale Zanine, USA Today Sports, “Ouch,” Los Angeles Chargers at Atlanta Falcons, Nov. 6, 2022.
Pro Football Hall of Fame celebrates decades of football excellence
For 60 years, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has honored football’s greatest individuals, celebrating the stories and triumphs of each enshrinee. As the years pass, Enshrinement classes mark anniversaries of their own, much like the Hall. This year, the Hall is recognizing 10 anniversary classes — a total of 63 Hall of Famers – dating back to the inaugural Enshrinement in 1963.
Gold Jacket Spotlight: Marcus Allen, a man of many firsts
What the San Diego native might not be as well known for are the many firsts he accomplished during his playing career. Those firsts paved the way for Marcus' enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and into this edition of the Gold Jacket Spotlight.