Sports site Deadspin interviews Walter Iooss about photographing “The Catch,” Dwight Clark’s famous touchdown catch that ended the Dallas Cowboys’ 1982 Super Bowl chances


Dwight Clark at the 1982 Super Bowl, making the catch that would go down in NFL history. Photo by Walter Iooss.

Walter Iooss was shooting a Sports Illustrated assignment on the Dallas Cowboys, “America’s Team,” in 1982, when he took what would become one of the most iconic photographs in NFL history. The Cowboys were playing the San Francisco 49ers in a game that, if they won, would take the Texas team to the Super Bowl. With less than a minute left on the clock and a six-point lead, the Cowboys were all but assured of victory when 49ers quarterback Joe Montana threw a fateful pass that wide receiver Dwight Clark, leaping high into the air, caught. The 49ers won, and the Cowboys’ Super Bowl dreams were dashed. And Walter was there to capture it on film.

The sports website Deadspin recently took an in-depth look at the making of the photograph, which Sports Illustrated used on its cover. In the piece, Walter—who had been embedded with the Cowboys for a year—candidly recalls how he felt about what would become known as “The Catch.”

“It was the worst thing that could’ve happened for the Cowboys,” he tells Deadpsin, “but I had to let go of personal issues and relationships and be a professional, whether you’re rooting for someone or not. You gotta toss that away.”

The article, by David Davis, is a great read. You’ll find it here.


January 18, 1982 Sports Illustrated Cover: Football: NFC Playoffs: San Francisco 49ers Dwight Clark (87) in action, making catch and scoring game winning touchdown vs Dallas Cowboys Everson Walls (24). San Francisco, CA 1/10/1982 CREDIT: Walter Iooss Jr. (Photo by Walter Iooss Jr. /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X26442 TK1 )

Walter’s photo on the cover of the January 18, 1982, issue of Sports Illustrated.


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