About that guy Russell Wilson plowed into on the Super Bowl sidelines

Staff photographerFebruary 5, 2014 

You don't usually expect to meet Russell Wilson face to face in the heat of the Super Bowl.

I did Sunday, and he knocked me on my butt.

I wasn't hurt, and he even offered a hand to get me back on my feet. But my Facebook feed has been filled with "friends" wondering how it feels to be run over by a world champion quarterback (There's even a GIF of the whole five-second event.)

So, in case you don't find yourself sitting an elbow away from me at a bar someday, here's how my brush with greatness came to be:

I was helping photograph the game for The News Tribune and was kneeling near the 10-yard line with my camera, just behind the first-down marker.

It was 2nd and 11 on Denver's 19-yard line when Wilson faked a handoff to Marshawn Lynch and took off running toward the sideline.

Obviously, I could see what was going on – for a while. I was trying to follow Wilson and track the play as Denver linebacker Duke Ihenacho chased him out of bounds. I saw him coming and at some point I tried to bail out to my right to protect my gear.

But there’s no room to move on the sidelines at the Super Bowl. Immediately around me were other photographers, a videographer or two, league personnel and Sea Gals cheerleaders directly behind me.

It all happened fast, but I'm pretty sure it went like this: Wilson runs at the sideline trying to get as many yards as he can but he can't slow down and runs into me. With such little space, I couldn’t dodge Wilson but managed to hit one of the video guys in the head with my camera lens as the Seahawks quarterback landed on top of me.

Wilson gave me a hand and asked if I was all right. I was able to say, "I'm fine. Get off me" - and then we both went back to work.

I was more embarrassed than anything because as a rule I try to stay out of the news and events that I cover.

Two frightening thoughts went through my head.

First, did my gear break? I was sent across the country to cover the most important game of the year and I might have gotten to shoot only three minutes of it. Fortunately, everything looked sharp.

Second, was Wilson hurt on the play? I might have been able to come home without photos, but I seriously doubt I would have been allowed back in the state if I injured Wilson three minutes into the Super Bowl. Not to worry.

My phone started buzzing almost instantly. My wife texted to make sure I wasn't hurt too badly. Old friends from Clover Park High School posted on Facebook about seeing me. My sister wondered if there were other highlights worth mentioning in the first half.

By the next morning, video clips and animated GIFs were posted to Facebook and Twitter and even more people sent me notes and texts.

Covering Super Bowl XLVIII with the team from The News Tribune was fun and full of memorable moments.

But this memory will stand out for awhile: I was the only guy to tackle Wilson all night.

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