MCGILL: Super Bowl-Bound Curry Carries Pride for Marshall, Huntington
The Word on the Herd -- Jan. 29, 2018
By Chuck McGill
If Vinny Curry could chase after Tom Brady for four quarters of the Super Bowl wearing a feather boa, he might be tempted to do it. Curry, the Marshall football legend and wrestling aficionado, is about to step into football’s super-sized ring.
“This is the grandest stage in sports,” Curry said this week before his Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII this Sunday in Minneapolis. “This is the biggest of them all. It is the NFL’s WrestleMania.”
That suits Curry, a 6-foot-3, 279-pound defensive end and the most recognizable Marshall sports figure in today’s NFL. He is a sharp-dressed, fun-loving, pass-rushing terror for one of the league’s stingiest defenses. He charms with his toothy smile and kid-like personality. This game, the 52nd Super Bowl, is the perfect platform for the ultimate showman.
“When I was 10 years old I dreamed about playing in the Super Bowl,” Curry said, “and that boy dreamed about playing in this game for the Eagles. That’s what makes this so much sweeter.”
Curry, who played at Marshall from 2007-11, has had a banner year on and off the field. Last April, he visited Huntington with a camera crew in tow to witness the unveiling of the Vinny Curry Football Locker Room – a surprise to him – and the public’s first glimpse of facilities that received a makeover because of his fundraising initiative. Then, Curry’s first child, Noah Vincent Curry, was born on May 6, 2017.
Noah, who is nearly nine months old now, is the spitting image of his famous father. It is Curry, though, who is starry-eyed about his baby boy.
“He is such a good kid,” Curry said. “When I come home, he goes crazy. He gets so excited when he sees me. If he’s in his walker he wants to jump out of that thing and into my arms.
“There’s no better feeling in the world than when I walk into that house.”
Curry also recently finalized the purchase of a home in New Jersey. On the field, he enjoyed the best season of his career. Curry started all 16 regular season games for the Eagles, recording a career-high 42 tackles. He rushed the passer 366 times and was credited for 47 pressures. He took down the quarterback on a sack or a hit 20 times.
Pro Football Focus graded every play of the 2017 season and ranked all 106 players in this Sunday’s Super Bowl. The Patriots’ Brady, not surprisingly, topped the list. Curry was ranked No. 12.
That means one of the greatest players in Marshall football history is one of the most important pieces of one of the NFL’s best defenses in the biggest game of the season, and his job is to get the game’s best player on the ground. No wonder Curry feels like he does these days.
“This has been the best year of my life,” Curry said.
But here’s the kicker with Curry: he wants to take everyone along for the ride. The Neptune, New Jersey native has children in his hometown sporting Eagles gear. Meanwhile, he hopes Huntington will change shades of green, from Kelly to midnight.
“There better be Super Bowl parties everywhere,” he said. “Put up some banners.”
Curry certainly feels the love from the people of his college town. After the NFC Championship game, Curry was interviewed while decked out in Marshall gear: green hat and green jacket. A screenshot of the video circulated on social media.
“Getting ready to play in the biggest game of his life and he is decked out in ALL MARSHALL,” read a portion of one tweet.
“Vinny Curry is such an ambassador for Marshall,” read another.
Curry wears the Herd gear under his uniform, to and from practice and when he is lounging around at home with his family.
“I wear Marshall gear on the regular,” Curry said. “That’s what I do. It calms my nerves; it keeps me at ease. It’s always been part of my ritual.”
He said his Eagles teammates are proud of their schools, too, but he wants to make a statement about how special it is to be part of the Herd family.
“It shows my teammates how we get down in Herd country,” Curry said. “The support is real. I love the support. I love representing the school and what Marshall stands for in the National Football League.”
Since Super Bowl XXXI, former Marshall players Mike Bartrum, Troy Brown, Steve Sciullo, Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Hanson, Randy Moss, Byron Leftwich, Doug Legursky, Omar Brown, Albert McClellan, C.J. Spillman, Aaron Dobson and Garrett Scott have been on the roster of a team participating in the Super Bowl.
Curry joins them this Sunday, and he wants the people with whom he interacted while at Marshall to know they’ll be there with him when he runs out of the tunnel. This is their moment, too.
“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.”