The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s photo of the year 2010, taken by Mary Schwalm ’99. (Used with permission)

Mary Schwalm ’99, a staff photographer for the Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass., won the Dave Boss Award of Excellence in the 43rd annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Photo Contest. Her photo ‚ÄúThrill and Agony” took first place in the action category and was selected as Photograph of the Year for the 2010 NFL season. Schwalm is the first female to earn this honor, according to the hall of fame’s press release.

New York Times Sports Picture Editor Brad Smith, talking about the competition in an online video says, “The best shooters in the world are shooting the highest profile sport in the world.”

Schwalm’s winning image captures New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez high-stepping into the end zone against the Green Bay Packers Dec. 19, 2010, with Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields kneeling in defeat in the background.

The contest, sponsored by Canon, U.S.A., Inc., is open to professional photographers ordinarily on assignment to cover NFL games. Other work by Schwalm is online at

Read more in an interview with Schwalm in the Eagle-Tribune.