All Hallow’s Eve is a time filled with cheap thrills, costume parties, and playful pranks. On November 1, 2007, Virginia Tech football was the victim of one of those pranks when quarterbacks Sean Glennon, Tyrod Taylor, and defensive backs Brandon Flowers and Kam Chancellor’s jerseys were stolen from the visiting locker room at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
The Hokies were preparing for a Thursday night clash with Georgia Tech, but these four players would have to wear their own Halloween costumes on the field that night.
“We were leaving the team hotel to go to the stadium for pregame warm ups and all that stuff,” Glennon said. “I remember John Ballein, he came up to me and he asked what I thought was an odd question, but obviously it made sense now in hindsight. He asked if my parents were coming to the game, in particular my mom. My answer was ‘no,’ they weren’t, but my mom used to always wear one of my white jerseys to the football games. I gave her one of my old jerseys and she used to wear it. I asked why and he basically said we got word from the equipment team that your jersey is missing. That was the first I heard about it.”
At first it was a little confusing to Glennon and the other three on the ride over to the stadium, but surely it would all be sorted out.
“We got to the locker room and they were literally like, ‘Yes, your jersey is gone,’” Glennon said. “It was funny. I don’t recall any of us ever really getting bent out of shape about it. It was really more or less, ‘What are we going to do, what are we going to wear?’”
Virginia Tech made some calls to boosters in high places, looking for any way to get some jerseys to Atlanta. Still, the Hokies needed to begin their pregame preparations, and these four players needed a jersey. Glennon thought they might hand over the jerseys from a few players who wouldn’t see game action, but instead, those players were handed their Halloween costumes for the night.
“We couldn’t go out to warm ups with just our pads on,” Glennon said. “I forget how long we were in the locker room, but it wasn’t that long. They came up to us and said ‘this is the best we got for now.’ They brought us the Georgia Tech old practice jerseys.”
One could imagine the scene in the locker room when Glennon, Taylor, Flowers, and Chancellor donned the white jerseys outlined in gold and navy with “Yellow Jackets” on the front.
“Obviously, swag was a big word,” Glennon said. “I don’t know if that’s still a big word in the locker room these days, but everyone was just kind of joking and laughing. They were Russell brand jerseys. They weren’t the flashiest looking things that you ever saw. They looked kind of old school to be frank. There was just a lot of joking around with people saying ‘you have to swag that thing out.’
“At first you were a little annoyed, then it kind of became comical. Especially when they brought the Georgia Tech jerseys out, we were all laughing and having a good time with it.”
Glennon and the others took the field for warm ups, looking like outliers from the rest of the pack. After warm ups, the players headed back to the locker room and knew they had to alter the uniforms.
It was the players’ responsibility to bring their own twist of “swag” to the practice jerseys. The foursome blacked out the Yellow Jackets across the chest and the Russell logo on the shoulder, instead drawing a Nike swoosh and writing their last names on the back.
“A lot of people ask me what trainer or what coach wrote ‘Glennon’ because they kind of make fun of it,” Glennon said. “I used lower case letters like I was a third grader writing my last name. I guess I didn’t think ahead to put it in all capital letters. I just kind of wrote it. I think Ty and Brandon and Kam all did the same thing. We all used capital letter for the first letter, then used our best third grade penmanship skills to write the rest. We all wrote our own stuff, so my handwriting was mine, Ty’s was Ty’s, and Brandon and Kam’s were their own as well.”
The game was of particular intrigue for Glennon because of his past with Georgia Tech. The 6-foot-4-inch quarterback from Centreville, Virginia was close to wearing a Yellow Jackets jersey his entire collegiate career. Glennon’s college decision came down to the two Tech’s before he eventually chose Virginia Tech.
“The irony of wearing a jersey that I strongly considered wearing coming out of high school was not lost on me,” Glennon said. “When I committed to Virginia Tech, I was pretty certain my days of wearing a Georgia Tech jersey were finished. It was pretty funny to come full circle. Everybody is going to laugh because they run the triple option now, and they’re probably expecting that Sean Glennon would be about the worst quarterback in the world for the triple option. This was before Paul Johnson and the triple option. This was actually when Chan Gailey was there, and they had a real pro-style passing attack. They had Calvin Johnson, who was probably the best receiver in the country there. I strongly considered going there, but obviously I chose Virginia Tech.”
Equipped with the sharpie-drawn jerseys, Virginia Tech entered the gridiron and dispatched Georgia Tech 27-3 from its home stadium. Glennon had his best game in a Georgia Tech jersey, and one of his best games in his Virginia Tech career, going 22-of-32 for 296 yards, connecting on 40-yard and 71-yard touchdown passes to Justin Harper and Josh Morgan, respectively. The signal caller also tallied a 2-yard rushing touchdown in the win.
“I said it to Erin Andrews after the game, as far as putting a positive spin on it, it’ll just be fun to go out and beat a team in their own uniforms,” Glennon said. “That was kind of our mindset that whole game. Let’s go out and beat them in their own jerseys.”
The craziness that ensued pregame took away some of the nerves that may typically be there for Glennon.
“Looking back, sometimes anything in life, or sometimes your best golf rounds are the ones where you don’t really warm up for or take too seriously,” Glennon said. “I think especially on those Thursday night games where it a national spotlight game, you try to get yourself in the zone, and you take it super seriously, and you’re super focused. I’m not saying that you should ever not be focused, but sometimes you play the best when you’re a little more care-free, and just kind of going out and playing. I think with the jersey situation, because I was so consumed by that, I barely had time to think about going out and playing a football game. It very well could have contributed to having a good, care-free night. Maybe I should have approached more games like that.”
The Hokies swatted the Yellow Jackets and headed back to Blacksburg with a convincing victory. The questions still remained about how the jerseys were even stolen in the first place. Using his best Nancy Drew detective skills, Glennon was able to infer what he believes happened during that trip to Bobby Dodd Stadium in 2007.
Because of the four jerseys that were stolen – those from the two quarterbacks and star defensive backs – it was obvious that it wasn’t a coincidence. Glennon knew Georgia Tech’s quarterback Taylor Bennett, and discussed some of the details surrounding the shenanigans with him.
“I guess the kids who stole the jerseys, that weekend there was Halloween parties out on campus,” Glennon said. “Apparently the guys that stole the jerseys weren’t doing the best job of being incognito about their crime because they were wearing our jerseys to these Halloween parties.
“To give you the details of the crime, our away locker room was connected to a weight room that I believe was used for Olympic sports, so it wasn’t the football team’s weight room. It was probably used by a lot of other athletic teams at Georgia Tech. Our locker room was connected to that by just a door. All that door had to be was unlocked for someone to get into our locker room. I’m assuming, I could be completely wrong, but I’m assuming it was actually a student-athlete just of another sporting program that pulled of the heist.”
It’s laughable for Glennon to reflect on that preposterous night over a decade ago. It was a game with farcical circumstances that he will forever be linked to.
“Not many people care about my career 11 years later, but you’re still calling to ask about it today,” Glennon said. “Not that I saw this happening, but I knew it would be one of those look back and always talk about funny stories of your career.”
Update on Glennon’s Reflections from Blacksburg
Sean Glennon finished his Virginia Tech career playing in 39 games, throwing for 4,867 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. He’s recorded the eighth most total yards in Virginia Tech history. The Hokies won three ACC Championships and appeared in several marquee bowl games during his four-year career.
It’s those opportunities that Glennon treasures the most.
“The most fortunate part of my career was I got to play on some really good teams,” Glennon said. “It probably gets lost on you in the moment, but you just grow to expect it because when you walk in the door, you’re doing pretty well, and contending for ACC Championships. I got to play in a lot of games that mattered that were on the national spotlight. A lot of people can’t say that. Not that their college experience was less, but I even look at my own brother who obviously endured a lot more fruitful NFL career than I did, but he just didn’t get the opportunity to play in those tight ball games during his college career. The fact that I got to go to three ACC Championship games, play in three BCS Bowl games. We were consistently ranked in the top 10, top 15 of the country, always having a couple premier Thursday night games a year, probably one or two Saturday night games a year. I look back and I appreciate that. I got to play under the big lights and the big stage more than a few times.”
Virginia Tech welcomes Georgia Tech to town this Thursday for another home game that is sure to be a rowdy environment. When Notre Dame came to town earlier this year, Glennon and several other alumni were on hand for game. He viewed the entire build up to the game from a different perspective.
“I’ll always argue, and I know it sounds biased, but I’m dead serious when I say it, there’s not a better atmosphere, especially the entrance and the pregame build up, than Lane Stadium in the country,” Glennon said. “My caveat to people that doubt it or aren’t sold on it, is you have to go to a night game. That’s the rule.
“I even said after the [Notre Dame] game, I was a little jealous that I wasn’t out here more. As players, we’re in the tunnel, so we don’t really see the true entrance experience. Yeah, we get to run on the field, and don’t get me wrong that’s a huge rush in itself, but standing on that field a couple weeks ago, and seeing everyone jump up and down, and the ‘Let’s go Hokies,’ Metallica coming on the big screen, and the skydivers coming in, that was awesome. As fans, you guys had a better view than we did as players.”
With his football career behind him, Glennon is the Senior Vice President and Partner at Home Savings & Trust Mortgage in Fairfax, Virginia. He’s living happily with his wife, Lindsey, and daughter, Peyton, who will soon have a little sister.