As he geared up to cover Sunday’s AFC championship between the Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots, Boston photographer Charlie Krupa knew the biggest national sports story of the week had been the mysterious injury to the throwing hand of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady had suffered the undisclosed injury during Wednesday’s practice. The Patriots remained tight-lipped about the specifics, but multiple reports indicated it could be serious enough to keep him out of the game. He didn’t practice on Thursday, and his scheduled media availability kept being pushed back.
On Friday he wore gloves on both hands during practice when the media was present, and he wore gloves on both hands at the podium afterwards. He refused to answer questions about the injury.
On Sunday, Krupa and every other photographer at the game made photos showing the bandaged hand as Brady warmed up, played, and celebrated yet another AFC championship on stage at midfield afterwards.
But after covering countless high-profile sporting events around the globe during his AP career, Krupa knew there was one more picture he needed to make.
When the field cleared and Brady took the podium outside the locker room to speak at the post-game news conference, Krupa watched through the lens for that fleeting moment of Brady’s unbandaged hand. His exclusive pictures, published on ESPN and Boston Globe websites, among others, confirmed Brady had sustained a cut at the base of his right thumb that required several stitches to close.
For journalistic tenacity and photographic skill that gave AP an exclusive beat, Krupa receives this week’s $300 Best of the States prize.