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The Best of 2013: A season in pictures

// Football
London Fletcher greets the crowd in Week 3, during his farewell season. (Simon Bruty)
London Fletcher greets the crowd at Fedex Field in Week 3, during his farewell season. (Simon Bruty)

On an given Sunday (or Monday or Thursday) in the fall, you’ll find Sports Illustrated’s photographers on the NFL sidelines, lenses trained on the action. SI doesn’t cover every game each week—shooters typically are working on a specific assignment for the magazine, SI.com or The MMQB, or else photographing games in their local area. So the following photo gallery, made up exclusively of pictures from SI staffers or from photographers on assignment for SI, is not meant to be a comprehensive look at the biggest games or greatest moments of the 2013 season; rather it’s a celebration of pro football as it seen through the eyes of the best sports photographers in the world. Click through the gallery below and enjoy. Or if you prefer a scrollable version, click here.

  • Patrick Willis welcomes the new season, the final one at Candlestick Park. (Robert Beck)
    Patrick Willis welcomes the new season, the final one at Candlestick Park. (Robert Beck)
  • Marques Colston reaches for a pass against the Falcons in Week 1. (Greg Nelson)
    Marques Colston reaches for a pass against the Falcons in Week 1. (Greg Nelson)
  • Russell Wilson gets things started for the Seahawks at Carolina in Week 1. (Al Tielemans)
    Russell Wilson gets things started for the Seahawks at Carolina in Week 1. (Al Tielemans)
  • Jermaine Kearse goes high for a Week 1 reception against the Panthers. (Al Tielemans)
    Jermaine Kearse goes high for a Week 1 reception against the Panthers. (Al Tielemans)
  • Vernon Davis hauls in his first of two Week 1 TDs against the Packers. (Robert Beck)
    Vernon Davis hauls in his first of two Week 1 TDs against the Packers. (Robert Beck)
  • All eyes on Robert Griffin III and his surgically repaired knee in the opener against the Eagles. (Simon Bruty)
    All eyes on Robert Griffin III and his surgically repaired knee in the opener against the Eagles. (Simon Bruty)
  • Philly’s Cary Williams lays a hit on RG3 in the Eagles’s Week 1 win at Washington. (Simon Bruty)
    Philly’s Cary Williams lays a hit on RG3 in the Eagles’s Week 1 win at Washington. (Simon Bruty)
  • Texans rookie D.J. Swearinger prepares for his first NFL game. (John W. McDonough)
    Texans rookie D.J. Swearinger prepares for his first NFL game. (John W. McDonough)
  • The long snap: Texans vs. Chargers. (John W. McDonough)
    The long snap: Texans vs. Chargers. (John W. McDonough)
  • Andre Johnson takes it to the Chargers in Week 1, when Houston’s season was filled with promise. (John W. McDonough)
    Andre Johnson takes it to the Chargers in Week 1, when Houston’s season was filled with promise. (John W. McDonough)
  • A free-for-all for the ball in the Pats-Jets Thursday nighter in Week 2. (Damian Strohmeyer)
    A free-for-all for the ball in the Pats-Jets Thursday nighter in Week 2. (Damian Strohmeyer)
  • Calm before the storm: Broncos at the Giants, Week 2. (Simon Bruty)
    Calm before the storm: Broncos at the Giants, Week 2. (Simon Bruty)
  • LeSean McCoy on the rampage versus the Chargers in Week 2. (Al Tielemans)
    LeSean McCoy on the rampage versus the Chargers in Week 2. (Al Tielemans)
  • San Diego kicker Nick Novak celebrates his game-winner at Philly in Week 2. (Al Tielemans)
    San Diego kicker Nick Novak celebrates his game-winner at Philly in Week 2. (Al Tielemans)
  • Hall of Famer Bart Starr takes in Washington-Green Bay in Week 2. (Jeff Haynes)
    Hall of Famer Bart Starr takes in Washington-Green Bay in Week 2. (Jeff Haynes)
  • Jordy Nelson takes a Lambeau Leap in Week 2. (Jeff Haynes)
    Jordy Nelson takes a Lambeau Leap in Week 2. (Jeff Haynes)
  • A 12th kid absorbs the Seattle-SF pregame scene. (Robert Beck)
    A 12th kid absorbs the Seattle-SF pregame scene. (Robert Beck)
  • Marshawn Lynch is in the house for the Niners game. (Rod Mar)
    Marshawn Lynch is in the house for the Niners game. (Rod Mar)
  • Mayhem in the endzone as the Seahawks pressure Colin Kaepernick. (Robert Beck)
    Mayhem in the endzone as the Seahawks pressure Colin Kaepernick. (Robert Beck)
  • Lions wideout Nate Burleson stretches pregame at Washington in Week 3. (Simon Bruty)
    Lions wideout Nate Burleson stretches pregame at Washington in Week 3. (Simon Bruty)
  • Washington vs. Detroit, Week 3. (Simon Bruty)
    Washington vs. Detroit, Week 3. (Simon Bruty)
  • Matthew Stafford eyes the ball. (Simon Bruty)
    Matthew Stafford eyes the ball. (Simon Bruty)
  • Arizona’s Rashard Mendenhall, pregame at Tampa in Week 4. (Al Tielemans)
    Arizona’s Rashard Mendenhall, pregame at Tampa in Week 4. (Al Tielemans)
  • Larry Fitzgerald takes a breather. (Al Tielemans/SI)
    Larry Fitzgerald takes a breather. (Al Tielemans/SI)
  • Carson Palmer, meet Gerald McCoy. Arizona at Tampa Bay, Week 4. (Al Tielemans)
    Carson Palmer, meet Gerald McCoy. Arizona at Tampa Bay, Week 4. (Al Tielemans)
  • Jason Pierre-Paul pressures Michael Vick, Week 5 at Metlife Stadium. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
    Jason Pierre-Paul pressures Michael Vick, Week 5 at Metlife Stadium. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
  • Hakeem Nicks of the Giants, Week 5 vs. Philly. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
    Hakeem Nicks of the Giants, Week 5 vs. Philly. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
  • Dexter McCluster, Raiders at Chiefs, Week 6. (David E. Klutho)
    Dexter McCluster, Raiders at Chiefs, Week 6. (David E. Klutho)
  • Derrick Johnson leaps at Terrelle Pryor, Week 6 at K.C. (David E. Klutho/SI)
    Derrick Johnson leaps at Terrelle Pryor, Week 6 at K.C. (David E. Klutho/SI)
  • San Diego’s Eric Weddle puts a hit on Indy’s Donald Brown in the Week 6 Monday nighter. (John Biever)
    San Diego’s Eric Weddle puts a hit on Indy’s Donald Brown in the Week 6 Monday nighter. (John Biever)
  • Chicago’s Brandon Marshall takes on all of D.C. in Week 7. (Simon Bruty)
    Chicago’s Brandon Marshall takes on all of D.C. in Week 7. (Simon Bruty)
  • Cowboys coach Jason Garrett looks on at Philly, Week 7. (Al Tielemans)
    Cowboys coach Jason Garrett looks on at Philly, Week 7. (Al Tielemans)
  • Dallas rookie J.J. Wilcox breaks up a Philly pass attempt. (Al Tielemans)
    Dallas rookie J.J. Wilcox breaks up a Philly pass attempt. (Al Tielemans)
  • A fan heads to Lucas Oil Stadium for Peyton Manning’s return to Indy. (Andrew Hancock)
    A fan heads to Lucas Oil Stadium for Peyton Manning’s return to Indy. (Andrew Hancock)
  • Robert Mathis gives his former teammate a less-than-warm welcome. (Andrew Hancock)
    Robert Mathis gives his former teammate a less-than-warm welcome. (Andrew Hancock)
  • Knowshon Moreno finds the going tough against the Colts. (Andrew Hancock)
    Knowshon Moreno finds the going tough against the Colts. (Andrew Hancock)
  • Carolina’s Cam Newton targets Ted Ginn at Tampa in Week 8. (Gary Bogdon)
    Carolina’s Cam Newton targets Ted Ginn at Tampa in Week 8. (Gary Bogdon)
  • Ben Hartsock attempts to influence a loose ball against the Bucs. (Gary Bogdon)
    Ben Hartsock attempts to influence a loose ball against the Bucs. (Gary Bogdon)
  • At least someone was cheering the Bucs during their 0-8 start. (Gary Bogdon)
    At least someone was cheering the Bucs during their 0-8 start. (Gary Bogdon)
  • An Eagles fan shows where his heart is, Week 8 vs. the Giants. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
    An Eagles fan shows where his heart is, Week 8 vs. the Giants. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
  • Third-string QB Jeff Tuel works it for the injury-ravaged Bills against the Chiefs in Week 9. (Al Tielemans)
    Third-string QB Jeff Tuel works it for the injury-ravaged Bills against the Chiefs in Week 9. (Al Tielemans)
  • Alex Smith huddles on the sideline in Buffalo. (Al Tielemans)
    Alex Smith huddles on the sideline in Buffalo. (Al Tielemans)
  • Scoreboard watching in Arlington. (Greg Nelson)
    Scoreboard watching in Arlington. (Greg Nelson)
  • Adrian Peterson, in form against the Cowboys in Week 9. (Greg Nelson)
    Adrian Peterson, in form against the Cowboys in Week 9. (Greg Nelson)
  • Salute to Service, Week 9 at Metlife Stadium. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
    Salute to Service, Week 9 at Metlife Stadium. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
  • Drew Brees and a loose ball, Week 9 vs. the Jets. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
    Drew Brees and a loose ball, Week 9 vs. the Jets. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
  • No-look kick: Chip Kelly at Oakland, Week 9. (Jed Jacobsohn)
    No-look kick: Chip Kelly at Oakland, Week 9. (Jed Jacobsohn)
  • Philly’s sideline signals channel Ozzie. (Jed Jacobsohn)
    Philly’s sideline signals channel Ozzie. (Jed Jacobsohn)
  • Riley Cooper with one of his three TDs (and QB Nick Foles’s seven) at Oakland in Week 9. (Jed Jacobsohn)
    Riley Cooper with one of his three TDs (and QB Nick Foles’s seven) at Oakland in Week 9. (Jed Jacobsohn)
  • A 12th Man banner at Seattle for the Bucs game. (Robert Beck)
    A 12th Man banner at Seattle for the Bucs game. (Robert Beck)
  • Week 9 weirdness: Running back Mike James’s jump-pass TD put Tampa Bay up 21-0 at Seattle. (Robert Beck)
    Week 9 weirdness: Running back Mike James’s jump-pass TD put Tampa Bay up 21-0 at Seattle. (Robert Beck)
  • Marshawn Lynch and the ’Hawks eventually set things right, pulling out a 27–24 win in OT. (Robert Beck)
    Marshawn Lynch and the ’Hawks eventually set things right, pulling out a 27–24 win in OT. (Robert Beck)
  • Frank Gore breaks into the Panthers secondary. (Jed Jacobsohn)
    Frank Gore breaks into the Panthers secondary. (Jed Jacobsohn)
  • Carolina’s Mike Mitchell, walking on air during a surprising 10-9 win at San Francisco in Week 10. (Jed Jacobsohn)
    Carolina’s Mike Mitchell, walking on air during a surprising 10-9 win at San Francisco in Week 10. (Jed Jacobsohn)
  • Jordan Senn gets a hand on an Andy Lee punt. (Jed Jacobsohn)
    Jordan Senn gets a hand on an Andy Lee punt. (Jed Jacobsohn)
  • Bengals punter Mike Nugent looks on at Baltimore in Week 10. (Simon Bruty)
    Bengals punter Mike Nugent looks on at Baltimore in Week 10. (Simon Bruty)
  • Cincy’s Mohamed Sanu pleads for a call at Baltimore. (Simon Bruty)
    Cincy’s Mohamed Sanu pleads for a call at Baltimore. (Simon Bruty)
  • A panoramic view of the opening snap, Denver at San Diego in Week 10. (John W. McDonough)
    A panoramic view of the opening snap, Denver at San Diego in Week 10. (John W. McDonough)
  • The dogs steals the show at Raiders-Giants in Week 10. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
    The dogs steals the show at Raiders-Giants in Week 10. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
  • The K balls, used for kicking, Seattle at Atlanta. (Al Tielemans)
    The K balls, used for kicking, Seattle at Atlanta. (Al Tielemans)
  • Marshawn Lynch in full Beast Mode in Atlanta. (Al Tielemans)
    Marshawn Lynch in full Beast Mode in Atlanta. (Al Tielemans)
  • Peyton Manning, at home in Denver. (Robert Beck)
    Peyton Manning, at home in Denver. (Robert Beck)
  • The officials flee harsh weather; Ravens at Bears, Week 11. (Jeff Haynes)
    The officials flee harsh weather; Ravens at Bears, Week 11. (Jeff Haynes)
  • Less than ideal conditions at Soldier Field for the Ravens’ visit. (Jeff Haynes)
    Less than ideal conditions at Soldier Field for the Ravens’ visit. (Jeff Haynes)
  • David Bass and Julius Peppers pursue Joe Flacco. (Jeff Haynes)
    David Bass and Julius Peppers pursue Joe Flacco. (Jeff Haynes)
  • Ben Roethlisberger in throwback mode against the Lions in Week 11. (Fred Vuich)
    Ben Roethlisberger in throwback mode against the Lions in Week 11. (Fred Vuich)
  • Sam Martin punts from the endzone at Heinz Field. (Fred Vuich)
    Sam Martin punts from the endzone at Heinz Field. (Fred Vuich)
  • Calvin Johnson and Ike Taylor tussle at the line. (Fred Vuich)
    Calvin Johnson and Ike Taylor tussle at the line. (Fred Vuich)
  • Alex Smith versus the Broncos, at Denver in Week 11. (Robert Beck)
    Alex Smith versus the Broncos, at Denver in Week 11. (Robert Beck)
  • Wes Welker, a new favorite of Manning’s, against the Chiefs in Week 11. (Robert Beck)
    Wes Welker, a new favorite of Manning’s, against the Chiefs in Week 11. (Robert Beck)
  • RG3 at Philly in Week 11. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
    RG3 at Philly in Week 11. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
  • LeSean McCoy shows his hops against Washington in Week 11. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
    LeSean McCoy shows his hops against Washington in Week 11. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
  • Rams rookie Tavon Austin awaits a Bears punt in Week 12. (David E. Klutho)
    Rams rookie Tavon Austin awaits a Bears punt in Week 12. (David E. Klutho)
  • Jason Witten feels a Giant crunch in Week 12. (Simon Bruty)
    Jason Witten feels a Giant crunch in Week 12. (Simon Bruty)
  • Bill Belichick, Denver at New England, Week 12. (Winslow Townson)
    Bill Belichick, Denver at New England, Week 12. (Winslow Townson)
  • Montee Ball loses it. (Winslow Townson)
    Montee Ball loses it. (Winslow Townson)
  • Rob Gronkowski stretches for the goal line. (Winslow Townson)
    Rob Gronkowski stretches for the goal line. (Winslow Townson)
  • The AFC’s two top teams square off. (Winslow Townson)
    The AFC’s two top teams square off. (Winslow Townson)
  • Rams QB Kellen Clemens unloads from endzone in San Francisco in Week 13. (Jed Jacobsohn)
    Rams QB Kellen Clemens unloads from endzone in San Francisco in Week 13. (Jed Jacobsohn)
  • Vernon Davis takes the high road against the Rams. (Jed Jacobsohn)
    Vernon Davis takes the high road against the Rams. (Jed Jacobsohn)
  • Browns wideout Josh Gordon says hi at New England, Week 14. (Simon Bruty)
    Browns wideout Josh Gordon says hi at New England, Week 14. (Simon Bruty)
  • Matthew Mulligan skies for the Pats against Cleveland. (Simon Bruty)
    Matthew Mulligan skies for the Pats against Cleveland. (Simon Bruty)
  • Field level, Browns at Pats. (Simon Bruty)
    Field level, Browns at Pats. (Simon Bruty)
  • Danny Amendola scores the game-winner in the controversial Week 14 Browns-Pats game. (Simon Bruty)
    Danny Amendola scores the game-winner in the controversial Week 14 Browns-Pats game. (Simon Bruty)
  • The Lions and Eagles battle each other and the elements in Philly in Week 14. (Al Tielemans)
    The Lions and Eagles battle each other and the elements in Philly in Week 14. (Al Tielemans)
  • More wintry weather in Baltimore for Vikes-Ravens. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
    More wintry weather in Baltimore for Vikes-Ravens. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
  • Jets defenders, grabbing the wrong Raider in Week 14. (Guillermo Hernandez Martinez)
    Jets defenders, grabbing the wrong Raider in Week 14. (Guillermo Hernandez Martinez)
  • Seattle’s Bryon Maxwell defends a pass to Michael Crabtree at the Stick in Week 14. (Jed Jacobsohn)
    Seattle’s Bryon Maxwell defends a pass to Michael Crabtree at the Stick in Week 14. (Jed Jacobsohn)
  • Niners RB Kendall Hunter, going the extra yard against the Seahawks. (Jed Jacobsohn)
    Niners RB Kendall Hunter, going the extra yard against the Seahawks. (Jed Jacobsohn)
  • Titans at Broncos, Week 14. (Robert Beck)
    Titans at Broncos, Week 14. (Robert Beck)
  • Eric Decker holds on tight against the Titans. (Robert Beck)
    Eric Decker holds on tight against the Titans. (Robert Beck)
  • Russell Wilson eyes the prize against the Giants in Week 15. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
    Russell Wilson eyes the prize against the Giants in Week 15. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
  • Richard Sherman, ready for the Metlife elements. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
    Richard Sherman, ready for the Metlife elements. (Carlos M. Saavedra)
  • Saints tight end Jimmy Graham at Carolina in Week 16. (Chris Keane)
    Saints tight end Jimmy Graham at Carolina in Week 16. (Chris Keane)
  • Carolina rides Luke Keuchly and the defense against New Orleans in Week 16. (Chris Keane)
    Carolina rides Luke Keuchly and the defense against New Orleans in Week 16. (Chris Keane)
  • DeAngelo Williams, rushing toward an unlikely NFC South crown. (Chris Keane)
    DeAngelo Williams, rushing toward an unlikely NFC South crown. (Chris Keane)
  • Cam Newton, starring when it counts against the Saints. (Chris Keane)
    Cam Newton, starring when it counts against the Saints. (Chris Keane)
  • The Panthers’ rush brings the heat against Drew Brees. (Chris Keane)
    The Panthers’ rush brings the heat against Drew Brees. (Chris Keane)
  • Randall Cobb hauls in the game-winner in the Week 17 cliffhanger in Chicago. (Jeff Haynes)
    Randall Cobb hauls in the game-winner in the Week 17 cliffhanger in Chicago. (Jeff Haynes)
  • Aaron Rodgers celebrates two comebacks—his own and the Pack’s. On to the postseason. (Jeff Haynes)
    Aaron Rodgers celebrates two comebacks—his own and the Pack’s. On to the postseason. (Jeff Haynes)

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