Home Sports Local Sports Cannon traces Super Bowl to faith and Roswell roots

Cannon traces Super Bowl to faith and Roswell roots

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes while tackle Marcus Cannon blocks Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (99) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 13, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo)

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This is the day! If you’re a football fan you know there’s a game called the Super Bowl going on at 4:30 p.m. today. There’s also a thing called six degrees of separation — where anyone is only six people away from knowing someone important.

New England Patriots offensive tackle Marcus Cannon warms up before the AFC Championship NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 20, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo)

Well, that’s true. Roswell has been represented in Super Bowls: LIII, LII, XLIX and LI. Local Roswell Youth Football League alum Marcus Cannon will be making his fourth appearance as the starting right tackle for the New England Patriots as he will lock horns with the best defensive lineman in the game, Aaron Donald, and his nasty teammate Ndamukong Suh and the rest of the Rams’ defensive line in the biggest game of the season.

Roswell Youth Football League

Cannon and his brother, EJ, got their starts on the fields of RYFL. Many felt as they watched Marcus Cannon play that he had a future in football; how big, no one knew. Many of the coaches felt he could play at the next level.

Cannon played for Lonnie Leonard and played on the north side when he was 9 years old. When he was 11-12 years old, Cannon played for the Cardinals. His brother EJ Cannon went on to play for New Mexico Military Institute and New Mexico State University.

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“Marcus and his brother were really good back then,” RYFL president James Edwards said. “He made our Vegas team — (the) all-star team that traveled to Las Vegas and played other top teams. If I’m not mistaken he played for me and Billy Collins. We got beat by a team called the UCLA Bruins. He was a good athlete, strong and fast.”

Ebbie and Holly (Meikens) Cannon were born and raised in Roswell. Both went to school at Roswell. They started dating their senior year in high school.

Ebbie played football for AJ Brown, playing offensive tackle. Ebbie wrestled and ran track. His older brother, Jacob, played football and ran track. Jacob was all-state and threw the shot put and discus, going on to Odessa Junior College. Brother Alan played football at Roswell, earning a scholarship to Dodge City Community College, and went on to Vanderbilt University. Older brother Timothy played at Roswell — he was an exceptional athlete, going on to Dodge City Community College.

Holly ran track and her specialty was the 880 for Roswell. She went to state her junior and senior years. She ran different relays as well.

Ebbie Cannon’s other children were athletes for Roswell High. Lamar played football, basketball and soccer. The next oldest son, EJ, played football, basketball, and track. The family lived in Roswell until 2002, before moving to Odessa, Texas.

“Roswell was a really good place to raise our kids,” Ebbie said. “We were really active in church. Our pastor there, Steve Smothermon, was really inspirational in developing our kids. We also coached together with his son, Stevie Jr., that was the same age as Marcus. We went from soccer, basketball, baseball and football.”


A family of faith, the Cannons raised their children to have a personal relationship with God and not despise small beginnings. Their faith was soon tested when Marcus Cannon was projected to be a first-round NFL pick until it was discovered that he had Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma at the pre-draft combine in Indianapolis in 2011.

“We had a lot of family and friends from church praying for us,” Ebbie Cannon said. “We had people standing behind us and praying with us. We had fears because it was an unknown, it was a shock to hear my son was diagnosed with cancer. We never had anyone in our family have cancer before, so it was a shock to hear, cancer. It shook our world a little bit. Our faith in God, we believe that our faith in God got us through and that this will soon pass.”

Ebbie feels like a lot of people don’t endure things and they don’t stick to it. He feels like people look at God as a microwave God, and you pray to him two days and boom, it is supposed to happen on the third day. He believes that faith is a lifestyle and that it is important to have a personal relationship with God to help with any adversity they might go through in life.

“Marcus relies on God completely,” Ebbie Cannon said. “I think his faith propels him week to week against the person he is playing against.”

Super Bowl

Their son Marcus is the starting right tackle for the New England Patriots — he will be tasked with keeping quarterback Tom Brady clean and upright. Marcus has been in the league eight seasons and this is his fourth Super Bowl appearance. The family considers themselves blessed when they know how hard it is for a player to get to just one Super Bowl.

“There’s not a week that goes by that we don’t pray,” Ebbie said. “We pray for the team, Marcus, the coaches, where he’s at and thank God for the coaches. We just keep our faith.”

The Cannons’ favorite Super Bowl to date has been the one against the Atlanta Falcons. Ebbie cited the way the team came back and persevered and how it changed the whole outlook of the game.

“That game gave me a sense,” Ebbie said, “that no matter where you’re at in life that if you just keep moving forward you can make it happen. Never give up.”

The Cannons have been in Atlanta the whole week and spent Saturday with Marcus in his hotel room. They prayed and visited and try to keep it normal as possible like it’s another game. They won’t talk to him or see Marcus until after the game. During this week the family sent him texts telling him how proud they are of him, to keep his head up and to keep moving, only one more game, and encourage him.

“We are thankful to all the (Roswell residents) that support Marcus and we appreciate them all.”

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