In the midst of a Super Bowl celebration nearly 85 years in the making, one player’s emotions took over and led to a powerful sports photograph that helped sum up what last night truly meant.
The Philadelphia Eagles upset the New England Patriots 41-33 last night in an entertaining Super Bowl from start to finish for the franchise’s first Super Bowl in history. And one underrated factor of the Eagles’ road to a Super Bowl is starting defensive end, Vinny Curry.
Curry has earned a reputation as one of the most underrated defensive players in the NFL and has earned the respect of teammates, coaches, fans, and analysts of the NFL. The six-year pro continues to make an impact on the biggest stage, but his success was forged from his time in Huntington, West Virginia.
Prior to getting drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Eagles, Curry starred at Marshall University from 2008-2011. And during that time, he emerged as one of the nation’s best defensive players while earning several honors and accolades along the way.
He left an indelible impact on the Marshall football program that is still being felt to this day. And while so many players tend to forget where they come from when they reach the bright lights of the NFL, Curry never forgets about his time at Marshall and he continues to give back to the community of Huntington and football program as a whole.
A recent example was unveiled in April of 2017 with the new ‘Vinny Curry Locker Room’ as he paved the way for upgraded, state-of-the-art locker room facilities for the Marshall football program with a $200,000 donation. Curry is never afraid to represent Marshall University and can consistently be seen wearing Marshall gear.
Curry began his Marshall career as a non-qualifier, but would soon develop into a playmaker for the Marshall defense. From 2008-2011, Curry accounted for 239 total tackles, 49 tackles-for-loss, 26.5 sacks, and 10 forced fumbles.
Among his many accolades included a 2011 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year award and helped lead the Thundering Herd program to two bowls wins during his time with the program.
His legend in Huntington reached another level in October of 2011 with arguably the greatest defensive performance in Marshall history. During the week of the Herd’s home game against Rice, Curry’s mother passed away. He didn’t practice all week long and many expected him to not play in the Rice game.
However, Curry played and put forth a performance that was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Curry finished that game with nine tackles, four tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. And his forced fumble in the game directly led to the go-ahead touchdown that gave Marshall the 24-20 win over the Owls.
Marshall finished that season 7-6 overall with a bowl victory, so without the performance of Curry in that Rice game, the Herd likely doesn’t make it to a bowl game in 2011. His draft stock was high following his outstanding senior season and he was drafted 59th overall by the Eagles in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Perhaps his most honorable moment for the Marshall community came when he got drafted by the Eagles in 2012. Curry played his entire Marshall career with the number 99, but when he joined the Eagles, he was forced to pick a different number.
He went with the number 75, a number that has significant meaning to the Marshall community. Of course, it references the 75 people lost in the November 14, 1970 plane crash following Marshall’s football game at East Carolina. If that doesn’t show how much Curry loves Marshall, nothing will.
“When I realized that was the actual number of people who died in the plane crash,” said Curry, “it just made it more important to me. I was like, ‘Wow, now I know why that number stuck out to me.’ ” – The Herald-Dispatch
“I realized how it was going to affect the whole community here. So, I am going to try to live up to wearing that No. 75 and perform like I know how to perform.” – The Herald-Dispatch
Curry’s hard work and success led to him receiving a contract extension to the Eagles in 2016 by the tune of $47 million and $23 million guaranteed that runs through the 2020 season. He also became a father on May 6, 2017 with the birth of his first child, Noah Vincent Curry.
There aren’t many college football programs that have an ambassador the caliber of what Curry is to the Marshall football program. He is among the most beloved alumni in Marshall history and his charitable, caring, and honorable nature is beyond commendable.
In today’s world of sports, it’s hard to find truly genuine people. Not only does Curry fall into that category, he does with flying colors. He has become one of the Eagles’ most popular players and continues to gain love from the Marshall community.
One of the most beloved players in Marshall football history just represented the program on the biggest stage in American sports. It doesn’t get much better than that for a school in the middle of Huntington, West Virginia.
“My love for Marshall – it’s tattooed on my skin. That’s forever,” Curry said. “You can’t forget where you come from. You can’t forget how that experience prepared you for the next step. That’s real life, the friends and relationships I have built in Huntington, in West Virginia, at Marshall University. That’s going to last a lifetime, and you can’t ask for anything more than that.” – Herdzone.com