Today is one of the biggest sports days of the year, if not the biggest. Tonight will be one of the only nights of the year where over half the country will be tuning into the same program on their televisions, Super Bowl XLVII. This is the biggest stage any football player will ever play on in their career, and for the 26th time in 27 years there will be a former Tennessee Volunteer on the field.
There would be two former Vols on the field tonight, but linebacker Parys Haralson, of the San Francisco 49ers, suffered a triceps injury in the preseason and was placed on injured reserve. He still made the trip with the team but in ineligible to play in what would’ve been his first Super Bowl. Haralson was a two time team captain that played defensive end for the Vols from 2002 to 2005. He started all but four games in his final three seasons. Haralson was drafted in the fifth round by the 49ers in the 2006 draft. He didn’t play much is rookie year, but started in 11 games during the 2007 season. In the 2008 season he led NFC West in sacks with eight.
The other former Vol is one you may have a hard time remembering. Morgan Cox was a member of the Tennessee football team from 2006 to 2009. During his final three seasons he served as the team’s deep snapper in every game he played. The Tennessee native was signed as undrafted free agent prior to the 2010 season by the Baltimore Ravens. Cox has served as the long snapper in all but one game during his three seasons with the Ravens. After walking on at Tennessee it seems Cox has found his niche and made a career out of it. Tonight he will be the long snapper for the Ravens on the grandest of stages under the brightest of lights.
Morgan Cox’s teammate, future hall of famer, Ray Lewis can tell you as well as anyone, you never know if you’ll make it back to the super bowl. Lewis has spent 12 years trying to get back to this point and has finally reached the pinnacle again in what will be his last game in a storied career. Dan Marino is another great that can you tell how nothing is guaranteed. Marino suffered harsh defeat in his young career at the hands of the 49ers. He may go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but he never again reached a super bowl.
Morgan Cox and Parys Haralson may not be Ray Lewis and Dan Marino, they may not one day be hall of famers, or even pro bowlers, but the super bowl means just as much to them as anyone. Hopefully these former Volunteers take a few moments before and during the game to soak it all in and take in the moment. You never know if you’ll be there again.