15 stunning football photos taken at the perfect time

Rick Osentoski, File/APThese football players look more like ballet dancers.
  • Iconic football photos capture NFL players in the midst of stunning touchdowns, interceptions, and upsets.
  • As the playoffs get underway, we looked back at some of the most adrenaline-packed photos from recent NFL history.
  • Super Bowl LV takes place on Sunday, February 7, 2021.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sports photographers through the years have captured stunning photos of NFL players in action. From jaw-dropping interceptions to ecstatic touchdowns, the sport lends itself to dramatic moments.

As the playoffs get underway, we’ve selected some of the most powerful photos taken in recent NFL history. They include highlights from the NFL’s own list of greatest football photos, which was compiled in honour of its 100th season in 2019.

With Super Bowl LV around the corner, here are 15 iconic football photos taken at the perfect time.

Steve Young and Brett Favre stood arm in arm after the Green Bay Packers beat the San Francisco 49ers in 1998.

Mickey Pfleger/Getty Images1998.

The iconic display of sportsmanship was captured by Getty photographer Mickey Pfleger.

Read more:
The most famous football player from every state

New York Giants receiver David Tyree caught the ball against his helmet, contributing to the team’s Super Bowl win against the previously undefeated New England Patriots in 2008.

Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images2008.

With one minute and 15 seconds left in the game, Tyree caught a 32-yard pass against his helmet. One touchdown later, the Giants won Super Bowl XLII. Tyree’s catch ranks third in NFL’s 100 Greatest Plays.

In 2005, San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson leapt above Buffalo Bills players into the end zone.

Matt Brown/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images2005.

The Chargers ended up winning the game 48-10.

Odell Beckham of the New York Giants stretched backwards to make a one-handed catch for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in 2014.

Al Bello/Getty Images2014.

The Cowboys ended up narrowly winning the November 23 game with a score of 31-28.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver made a face at a fan as he scored a touchdown in 2012.

Mike Roemer, File/AP2012.

His jump into the crowd is known as a “Lambeau Leap.”

Reggie Bush of the New Orleans Saints dove into the end zone to score a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images2006.

Despite Bush’s efforts, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the game 38-31.

San Francisco 49ers player Earl Cooper celebrated his touchdown during Super Bowl XVI.

Focus on Sport/Getty Images1982.

In their first-ever Super Bowl victory, the 49ers won the 1982 championship against the Cincinnati Bengals 26-20.

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku did a jumping split upon scoring a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in 2017.

Rob Carr/Getty Images2017.

The Baltimore Ravens won the game 10-24.

Antonio Cromartie of the San Diego Chargers intercepted the ball from the Indianapolis Colts’ Reggie Wayne in 2007.

Chris Park/AP2007.

The stunning leap was Cromartie’s third interception of the first half of the game.

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jackie Smith stiffened his body in disappointment after missing a touchdown during Super Bowl XIII.

Miami Herald/AP1979.

The catch would have tied the game in the third quarter, but the Steelers ended up winning 35-31.

Indianapolis Colts players dumped a cooler over coach Tony Dungy after their victory in Super Bowl XLI.

David J. Phillip, File/AP2007.

The Colts defeated the Chicago Bears 29-17.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Eric Rowe looked more like ballet dancers than football players in this 2015 photo.

Rick Osentoski, File/AP2015.

Johnson retired from the NFL in 2016. Eric Rowe now plays for the Miami Dolphins.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens stuffed his helmet with popcorn after scoring a touchdown in 2007.

Mike Thomas, File/AP2007.

Owens was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

Getty Images’ Streeter Lecka captured an incredible photo of Tom Brady’s daughter holding the Lombardi Trophy after the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2019.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images2019.

Brady’s daughter, Vivian Lake, held the trophy above her head after the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory. The camera angle caught the reflection of her ear-to-ear smile in the trophy’s shiny surface.

Kansas City Chiefs players dumped a cooler of Gatorade over head coach Andy Reid after their Super Bowl win in 2020.

David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images2020.

The photo appears to have been taken before Reid noticed what had happened. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl LIV.

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