If there’s a tailgate, 12th Man is there

Wherever the Seattle Seahawks go, Deb Hindman goes.

In the days leading up to Sunday’s playoff game in Atlanta, Seahawks fandom reached fever pitch around here.

Hindman hasn’t been home to enjoy it. A longtime Seahawks season ticket holder, she flies to where the action is.

As you settle in Sunday morning to watch the Seahawks battle the Falcons in the NFC Divisional Playoff game, she’ll be in a $200 seat in the Georgia Dome. When we talked last week, she was planning to fly Saturday from Washington, D.C., to Atlanta for the game.

Hindman, 40, who lives in the Bothell-Mill Creek area, has been making plans on the fly since before the Seahawks’ Jan. 6 on-the-road win over the Washington Redskins.

And wherever she goes to support her Seahawks, Hindman stirs up a crowd.

With fellow fan Joe Baird, and the help of Facebook, Hindman organized a Seahawks tailgate party in the FedEx Field parking lot last Sunday before the Redskins game. A crowd showed up with “tons of 12th Man flags,” she said.

“It’s the power of the Internet,” Hindman said. With her Facebook friends and the Sea Hawkers Booster Club spreading word of the tailgate events, she said, “my phone starts ringing at 2 in the morning.”

Again Sunday, social networking will help Hindman gather Seahawks fans in Atlanta.

On her Facebook page Friday, she wrote: “Hawks nest tailgate on the road will be in the yellow lot north of the Georgia Dome. … If you aren’t able to get a pass in this lot before they sell out, park somewhere else and come join us!!”

It was after the Hawks’ 20-13 home victory against the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 30 that Hindman began cooking up an itinerary — without even knowing her destination. She works in King County and plans vacation time every year around the NFL playoffs.

“I’d messaged friends all over the country, in cities where we could be playing,” she said Wednesday by phone from Washington, D.C.

For the Redskins game, she stayed in Fairfax, Va., with friends and former Snohomish County residents Mary and Greg Gervais.

“I found amazing tickets on StubHub,” she said. On the ticket website, she bought two seats for the Seahawks-Redskins game in FedEx Field for $334 each. At that game, she and Greg Gervais sat four rows from the field at the Seahawks tunnel.

Hindman inherited her love of the team. Her parents, George and Joan Hindman of Lake Forest Park, were among the first Seahawks season ticket holders in 1976.

This isn’t the first year Hindman has gathered with Seahawks fans on the road. “I put together a major tailgate in 2006 at the Super Bowl, and a tailgate in 2007 in Green Bay and another in Chicago in 2010,” she said.

“It takes a lot of work and coordination. I thought about not doing it, just go and enjoy the game,” she said. “But Seahawks fans come to these games from Washington state, California, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Colorado — pretty much every state. The 12th Man deserves something good.”

As Hindman spends her time on the road building Seahawks spirit, some fans here have their own work to do, even on game days.

Edgar’s Sports Grill opened two months ago in Stanwood. Ever since, owners Blaine and Tina Smith have hosted football fans — of the Seakawks, UW Huskies and WSU Cougars. The restaurant and sports bar in downtown Stanwood has a dozen new HD televisions and a 100-inch pull-down screen.

Blaine Smith has coached youth football in Stanwood and was a junior-varsity coach two years ago at Arlington High School. The grill is a family affair, with the Smiths’ 19-year-old son Cody working there. Edgar’s is named in honor of the family’s Basset hound, who died a year ago.

The place normally opens at 11 a.m., but will start with a game-day breakfast at 9 Sunday morning. By late last week, half the space was reserved for the game, Smith said, “and we’re just about full already for Super Bowl.”

A Seahawks and Husky fan, Blaine Smith hasn’t been to one Hawks game at CenturyLink this season. “We’re working on Sundays,” he said.

In their own ways, wherever they are, other Seahawks fans will work Sunday to send out the power of a 12th Man cheer.

“I’ve been to every single home game the last three or four years,” said Damon Matz, of Lake Stevens. Matz, 34, is vice president of the Snohomish County chapter of the Sea Hawkers Booster Club.

He’d like to be in Atlanta, where Hindman is raising her voice, but Matz knows the team appreciates the support of fans here at home. “I have a really good feeling,” Matz said. “There’s nothing this team can’t do.”

And where will Hindman go next? Maybe San Francisco. Maybe Green Bay, Wis. She’ll know soon enough.

She hopes to get home and do laundry before a next stop, but said, “I’m completely packed — only with Seahawks gear.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, muhlstein@heraldnet.com.

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