San Francisco 49ers

Gone viral: Cameraman thought big play was possible, but not *that* big

In this Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, file photo, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) looks back as he runs down the sideline for the game-winning touchdown Saints late in the second half of an NFL divisional football playoff game against the New Orleans in Minneapolis. The Vikings defeated the Saints 29-24.
In this Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, file photo, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) looks back as he runs down the sideline for the game-winning touchdown Saints late in the second half of an NFL divisional football playoff game against the New Orleans in Minneapolis. The Vikings defeated the Saints 29-24. AP

Some of the big winners from Sunday's Vikings-Saints game in Minneapolis were Case Keenum, Stefon Diggs … and Scott Kegley.

Kegley, the team's executive director of digital media, was in the perfect spot to capture Diggs' 61-yard, game-winning touchdown pass as time expired that stunned the Saints and anyone who was watching on television. The resulting 69-second video, which is equal parts euphoric and chaotic, went viral as soon as it was posted Sunday night and currently has 6 million views.

"You never know what's going to happen in those situations," said Kegley, a one-time 49ers intern who spent nine seasons with San Francisco. "I've seen enough football to know that there's always the possibility for something crazy to happen."

With 10 seconds remaining and the Vikings on their own 39-yard line, however, Kegley said the wildest scenario he could conjure up was a deep pass along the boundary in which the receiver went out of bounds, stopped the clock and set up a long field-goal attempt. That's why he positioned himself with a hand-held camera on the side of the end zone.

"I tried to be in a spot where we could get that shot," he said. "The rest is kind of history."

Kegley, 34, is from Citrus Heights and went to Bella Vista High School. His wife grew up in Minnesota, and when a job became available with the Vikings just before the 2015 season, he took it and moved north. Minnesota's first game that year was a Monday Night Football affair against the 49ers in Santa Clara.

"I went on a road trip and stayed in my own house," he said.

Kegley, who attended USC and worked in the school's video department, was in a similar spot on the sideline for the Trojans' famous "Bush Push" touchdown over Notre Dame in 2005. And he was on the sideline when Vernon Davis' dramatic touchdown catch with nine seconds left propelled the 49ers over the Saints in the divisional round of the 2011 playoffs.

Sunday's circumstances were even more improbable and the aftermath of the score more berserk. Kegley said he didn't truly feel the emotion of the moment until watching it afterward.

"You're fixated on what's happening and what the frame looks like," he said. "Because you're viewing it through a small lens. You don't really get a chance to jump up and down with the people next to you. You can't. I think I was just more fixated on: I have to get over to where players are tackling Stefon Diggs and I have to get over there right away."

From Kegley's perspective, we can see Keenum drop back with 10 second left in the game -- there are two huge play clocks behind him -- and then see Diggs rise up to make the catch with five seconds remaining.

We see Saints rookie safety Marcus Williams somehow miss Diggs with a tackle attempt and then watch as the receiver cruises into the end zone as the clock strikes 0:00.

Among the images the video captures are Diggs ripping off and tossing his helmet, which triggers an official to throw a flag. The resulting, 15-yard penalty theoretically would have been enforced on a kickoff, which was moot considering no time remained in the game.

"At the time I remember just how far Stefon threw his helmet," Kegley said. "It lands halfway across the field."

The camera pans past a group of seven, stone-faced Saints fans in a field suite who just moments earlier were sure their team was going to win. Finally, it goes into the end zone where Diggs is mobbed by teammates, the last of whom was Keenum.

"The coolest part for me is when, all of sudden through all that madness, Case comes up and grabs Stefon," Kegley said. "And the look of grown men -- professional athletes -- and their sheer love and passion for the game. Nothing beats that. That's pretty cool no matter what team you root for."

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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