Perfect lighting conditions at the Cowboys’ $1.2 billion stadium produce the best photos in football

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It is midseason in the NFL, and that means it is time for what has become an underappreciated annual tradition in the NFL – the gorgeous photos produced at Dallas Cowboys home games thanks to the perfect lighting.

The conditions for the incredible photos are best when the Cowboys play a mid-season, late-afternoon home game. The low October or November sun, and a southwest-facing end zone that is covered in large windows, combine to produce a lighting effect inside the stadium that seems to spotlight specific players and give the field a warm glow.

Here are some of the best photos taken over the last three seasons by the Associated Press, Getty Images, and USA Today photographers.


The sun shines directly through the southwest windows during late-afternoon games in October and November.

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The sunlight makes the playing area light up in a way not typically seen at a football game.

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The most recent game was on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.


The shadows seem to come and go with abrupt boundaries.

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

You may never see a more serene football photo than this one against the Patriots in 2015.

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

At times it seems like the sun spotlights specific players.

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Has any photo ever done a better job of summing up NFL kickers?

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Some of the photos are so crisp the image looks like something out of a video game.


Alex Smith attempts a pass.

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Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Some of the images look like they were staged, including this one of Odell Beckham, Jr.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty

Others look like paintings.

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Even Bill Belichick looked angelic in 2015.

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Even huddles are gorgeous.

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Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

As if Tom Brady wasn’t already under a spotlight.

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Even the shadows seemingly produced images that were crisp.


When the sun is at its brightest, the players seem to glow.

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

And crystal clear.


But the best shots capture the sun coming from behind the players.

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Erich Schlegel/USA Today Sports

Gorgeous.


The light on a player can change with each step.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are going to be side-by-side in this spotlight for years to come.


Surreal.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Now check out what happened to all of Tom Brady’s backups.

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Elsa/Getty Images

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? All of Tom Brady’s backup quarterbacks during his career