The cool rain of the past two days is making Phoenix look like Seattle with palm trees.
So do the legions of Seattle Seahawks fans who have arrived.
Two days before Super Bowl XLIX, I’d say Seahawks fans are outnumbering New England Patriots supporters 3-to-1.
Hoping to bump into someone from Clark County, I struck up a couple dozen conversations with people in downtown Phoenix wearing Seahawks gear.
No luck finding anyone local, but I was struck by how many Seahawks fans live in Arizona. I heard several stories from people who grew up in the Seattle area, moved south and did not switch allegiances.
Thursday night, I traveled to suburban Scottsdale to visit the main roost of Seahawks fans in Arizona. The Skeptical Chemyst, an Irish pub in a suburban strip mall, is home to the Phoenix chapter of the Sea Hawkers, the official Seahawks booster club.
The club is run by two brothers from Kalama, Ken and Max Bishop. They have built the chapter into the largest outside of Seattle with more than 600 members. You can read more about their story in Sunday’s paper.
The bar was packed. Seahawks flags and jerseys draped the walls. For $6, you could buy a drink called a Hawk Bomb, which is a shot of vodka dropped into a glass of Red Bull and colored green.
A musician on stage shouted “Sea!” into the microphone. The crowd yelled back “Hawks!”
In the parking lot, cars with Washington plates were next to Arizona-licensed vehicles adorned with Seahawks stickers. Inside, fans from Seattle, Scottsdale, Tacoma and Tempe all came together under one banner, the 12th Man flag above the bar.
Oddsmakers have the game as even or the Patriots as a slight favorite. But in the battle of which team has more fans here, this one’s a landslide.