Creative Leader. Photographer. Designer. Storyteller.

Documenting Falcons 1st Round Draft Pick: Jake Matthews

Much like the Tony Gonzalez photo essay this was one of the most unique projects I have been lucky enough to lead during my 13 seasons with the franchise. We had an opportunity to tell the story of our draft through images, with a short narrative, in an exclusive behind-the-scenes way our fans, or any NFL fans, have never seen before.


After coming off of a disappointing 4-12 season the Atlanta Falcons held the #6 overall spot in the 2014 NFL Draft. This was the highest the team has drafted since 2008 when they selected franchise quarterback Matt Ryan. I was lucky enough to accompany a videographer and a representative from the public relations department up to New York to document the team's selection for the first 24 hours of his NFL career.

We followed Jake Matthews from the second he stepped off the stage, through the back hallways of the historic Radio City Music Hall, through "radio row", teleconferenced with local Atlanta reporters live from the Rockettes dressing room and flew back on Falcons owner Arthur Blank's private plane with Jake and his entire family, including Jakes father, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bruce Matthews. Team photographer Jimmy Cribb took over the coverage once we got to team headquarters.

Once Cribb and I had finished shooting for the day, the fun really started. I began culling through all the photos from the last 24 hours and began to piece the narrative together to share the story with our fans. In the end, we delivered a visual story that provided fans with exclusive behind-the-scenes access and insight into one of the NFL's biggest events.

The entire photo essay can be found on the Atlanta Falcons Exposure site. Not all photos in this post are mine. This post does include several Jimmy Cribb photographs.

Mike BenfordComment