KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Vols superfan is getting close to attending his 300th consecutive UT football game, and he’s not letting the COVID-19 pandemic break his streak this weekend.
Tennessee will travel to South Carolina for their season opener on Saturday. We’ve told you about different SEC schools slashing the amount of fans they’ll let into a game.
WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel heard from local diehard, Earl Brown – who’s now secured a coveted ticket.
So far, he’s been to 293 UT football games in a row. This weekend, despite several changes, added guidelines and an ongoing pandemic, he’s about to mark 294.
For Earl and his wife Judy, cheering on the Vols is tradition.
“You’ve got to do something that you enjoy doing together, and this is something that we enjoy doing together,” he said.
And they’ve been doing it for decades. The Browns have been getting season tickets since 1972.
Plus, Earl’s got an impressive attendance streak that he’s adding to this weekend.
“Very proud and happy that I can keep the streak alive and still go, because it’s been part of the way we enjoy sports seasons for so long. I was really scared that I was not going to be able to get a ticket,” he said.
The pandemic prompted the SEC to make several football game changes. That includes host schools giving a minimum of 500 tickets to their visiting opponent.
It’s also changing the way Earl and Judy typically support their team.
“I’m the only one that’s going. Judy’s endocrinologist has told her that because of so many health issues that she’s got that she has no business going to a crowd situation, and even though the crowd is going to be much smaller than normal, it’s still too many,” Earl said.
The couple will still travel to South Carolina together, but only Earl will go inside the stadium.
Like many things amid the pandemic, it’s a change in tradition. But there’s some parts of it, Earl is not willing to break.
“Judy always gives me a kiss every time we score, and so now when I get back to the hotel on Saturday night in Columbia, I hope she owes me a lot of kisses to make up for the fact that she’s not there to give them to me while we score,” he said.
Earl has secured a South Carolina ticket, but he’s still looking for tickets to the other four away games. He even called on athletic director Phillip Fulmer to help him out if he’s listening.