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Carlos Gonzalez: A Focal Point

Posted Sep 6, 2017

Much like the chain gang with the first-down markers, Carlos Gonzalez usually spends football games matriculating down the sideline as teams move the ball up and down the field.

Gonzalez is a staff photographer for the Star Tribune and has been employed by the newspaper since autumn of 1998.

That’s also the time Randy Moss showed up in the Twin Cities, helping lead the charge for a Vikings offense that scored a then-record 556 points.

Gonzalez altered his shooting style in order to capture Minnesota’s high-powered offense.

“With him and the Vikings that season, that offense was just ridiculous. They had the most prolific offense in NFL history at that point, and they could throw the ball anywhere,” Gonzalez said. “Generally, covering football you kind of follow the plays as they go along.

“But with that team and Moss, they had the potential to break a long bomb all the time,” Gonzalez added. “It started changing the way you covered the game because you just got down the field because with the chance of a long bomb, you didn’t want to miss that. There was always that potential for that big play.”

Gonzalez said he quickly learned that when Minnesota and Moss were on the field, he needed to book it toward the end zone — a space Moss found 92 times in his career in Purple.

“After that (1998) season and then covering him throughout his career in Minnesota, it was always, ‘Hey, get down there,’ because he always had the potential to break one.’ I’d be down on the other end as much as possible.” 

Gonzalez’s photography career has allowed him to shoot numerous high-profile sporting events, including the Final Four and three different Olympic Games.

But Gonzalez said he’s rarely seen an athlete like Randy Moss.

“He was an immense talent and something we had never seen before,” Gonzalez said. “(As a photographer,) you definitely want to shoot the game so you don’t miss anything going on, but if it was a big play, the odds were that it was going to come from someone like him.

“He was a playmaker, so you always wanted to keep an eye on Moss,” Gonzalez added.