Day 2: 430 miles, Meridian, Idaho, to Lehi, Utah.
Trip total: 952 miles
Zipping across Idaho and Northern Utah, I found myself alone with my thoughts:
This is Denver Broncos country (Denver is about a 550-mile drive from Salt Lake City), but on the second day of my Super Bowl 49 Road Trip I found plenty of people who root for the Seahawks.
Stop 1: Boise State’s famous blue turf
The iconic blue turf at Boise State University is where Seattle Seahawks safety Jeron Johnson played his college football. A picture of him still hangs on a wall in the football complex.
But this is hardly the only reason the school sports information director, Joe Nickell, will be rooting for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
He keeps a retro Seahawks mini-helmet on his desk so his colleagues know “I’m not a bandwagon fan.” Nickell is from Moses Lake and attended Washington State University.
As we walked across the blue turf I asked for his Super Bowl prediction. The video is posted at thenewstribune.com/seahawks. Spoiler alert: He picks the Hawks.
Stop 2: Romney Stadium, Utah State University
On a table outside Utah State football coach Matt Wells’ office are autographed photos of Seahawks running back Robert Turbin and linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Wells, in his second year as coach, says both men come back to visit USU and he’s not surprised by the success they’ve had in the NFL.
“I think a lot of people around here are rooting for the Seahawks because of those guys,” Wells said.
Stop 3: Logan’s Buffalo Wild Wings
I met two of those people for chips and queso a few minutes later. Nathaniel Schott and his wife, Kendahl, are from Tacoma so their Seahawks fandom predates USU’s latest contribution to the team.
But the USU students say their connection to the Seahawks only strengthened when Wagner and Turbin were drafted in 2012.
Nathaniel, a mechanical engineering student from Mount Tahoma High School, wore a Wagner Seahawks jersey when we met. How much of a fan is he? He has pitched Marshawn, Sherman and Golden as names for their first child.
Kendahl, who starts USU’s nursing program the morning after the Super Bowl, shot down those suggestions. She attended Washington High in Parkland and seemed to have conveniently forgotten her alma mater’s nickname is the Patriots.
“That’s OK,” she said with a laugh. “They’re the good Patriots.”