On Sundays, they are found hunkered down on couches in front of TVs with everyone from the children to the dog clad in blue and green. They are found teetering on barstools at their favorite watering holes buying friends a round after every touchdown. They are even found at Century Link Field armed with hearing protection, ready to cheer their hearts out.
However, on the following Monday and the rest of the week, these 12s can be found at their day jobs, many of them right here on the Eastside.
Driving along I-405, the Bellevue skyline comes into focus and drivers catch a glimpse of countless Seattle Seahawks signs and flags that adorn many downtown office buildings. Inside these office buildings several blue-and-green clad employees celebrate their team each workweek. The staff at Bellevue-based software company Smartsheet is among them.
“There is a lot of 12 gear that is worn especially on Friday before the game, either home or away,” says Mark Mader, Smartsheet CEO. “In terms of dress code we strongly encourage people to demonstrate their fandom through appearance. That can be everything from socks, to shoes, to shirts.”
Mader explains that taking part in the Seahawk culture by dressing up helps foster a team environment within the business.
“I think that as we saw last year with the crazy positive energy that was felt, there is a real sense of community at the city level and I think it comes right down to the company,” he says.
One Smartsheet employee, Carson Dunn, doesn’t just sport the jerseys of his favorite players, but he also helps out his co-workers by bringing extra shirts and jerseys for co-workers who don’t have their own gear.
“On Fridays during the playoffs I’ll bring in my old jerseys from middle school and high school and let people wear them, I let them kind of check them out for a day,” Dunn says.
A few blocks from Smartsheet at Apptio, a company that develops technology business management Software as a Service applications, cubicles are lined with Seahawks posters, figurines and balloons. Employees here also don their blue and green gear for blue Fridays, but this particular group takes fandom a step further by spending their Sundays tailgating together.
“I think it helps us connect,” says Apptio employee Matt Halls. “The company is getting big and we are spilt between four floors—it’s a good way for people to meet new people and just connect with people they haven’t seen in a while.”
In addition to outside-of-the-office fun, Apptio CEO Sunny Gupta uses the NFL team to inspire his team.
“He recently referenced a Wall Street Journal article that talked about the Seahawks and their teamwork when he was giving an all-company presentation,” says Apptio Spokesperson Ali Kramer. “He really looks at the Seahawks, their success, and how they work together and tries to draw parallels with his team here.”
Just south of Apptio, there’s no hiding the Hawks fans at the website travel agent, Expedia. The 10-story, 3,000-sheet “Hawk-itecture” creation on the front of the building lets Bellevue know just how Expedia feels about their Seahawks.
Jonathan Graham, UX designer for Expedia, spearheaded the project leading close to 30 coworkers through the 6-hour project. Graham says that working on the project united the team of fans.
“There’s really good morale here. It’s a great place to work, but the Seahawks just bring it together that much more,” Graham says. “There are people that you wouldn’t normally talk to in the elevator or in the lobby that have Hawks stuff on, it creates some interaction with people you wouldn’t normally see everyday.”
Win or lose on Super Bowl Sunday these fans will return to work the following Monday, still united in their fandom.
“Teams rally around things that go exceptionally well but they also rally together during times of adversity,” Mader says. “While we love the Seahawks we also realize that it is just a game and that our lives and our well beings aren’t fundamentally changed based on the outcome.”