X2, 47, 13. To most that sounds like a completely random set of numbers but to me it holds just as much significance as numbers like 98, 16, or 102455 do to any fan. That was my seat for history. It’s where I would learn to sing Rocky Top and to hate Steve Spurrier. When you asked my grandparents how long those seat had been theirs, they couldn’t give you a year. They simply pointed out the there were wooden bleachers behind the north end zone. When Texas Tech came to Neyland Stadium in August of 1997 it was my turn to occupy that seat. I had no idea of the journey I was about go on. Sandwiched between my dad and my grandparents I would spend the next 12 seasons growing up, witnessing some of the greatest moments in the history of Neyland Stadium from that seat. I didn’t even witness a home loss until 2001. To pick a single game or moment would be almost impossible, but the things that stick out most to me are the hugs I would get from my grandmother after each game which were always a little tighter and longer after a win, the sights of flashbulbs (real ones, not smartphones) flashing like lightening bugs as the team ran through the T, or Bobby Denton giving a “score of interest” and adding a dramatic pause before announcing that Florida or Alabama was losing. Thankfully, in an effort to be like my father and grandfather, I insisted that I have a radio, and was able to enjoy John Ward’s final season. I even sat through the 3rd quarter of the 1997 Georgia game with a gash in my knee from a fall on the way to the Stadium that would require 10 stitches and a brace that didn’t allow me to bend my knee for weeks, simply because I didn’t want to leave. The doctor apologized to giving me Kentucky blue stitches. In high school that seat was where I took my girlfriend, who is now my wife, to her first game. These are just some of the amazing memories that all take place in that one seat. I only moved to a different location when I became a student at UT, though I did get to sit there a couple more times before my grandparents and parents let the tickets go. 2021 will mark my 26th season in Neyland Stadium. I’ve been extremely lucky in the past 25 years to have only missed 3 games (97 Ole Miss, 2000 Florida, 2013 South Alabama). Unfortunately over time my seat has changed. My grandparents are no longer with us. But every Saturday that I get to sit inside that stadium, part of me is still the 7-year-old boy sitting in those seats witnessing the pageantry of a Tennessee Football Saturday in Neyland Stadium for the first time. I still hear Bobby Denton and John Ward. I still smell the aroma of whiskey and cigars coming from the ramps above gate 10. I still hear my grandmother singing the National Anthem along with George Bitzas. I still see those flashbulbs exploding as the team runs through the T. And it’s all thanks to my family and X2, 47, 13.
– Curtis Herd