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Letting his Hawk Flag fly: Man turns car into Seattle sports icon
Few elements of local culture unify the masses like the Seattle Seahawks.
The local NFL franchise, one that currently holds the top spot in the conference and looks primed for a Super Bowl run, has a special place in the hearts and minds of The 12th Man.
For J. DeBruler, that place is behind the wheel.
The owner of Accutint, a custom window tinting, detailing and clear film application specialist in Bellevue, DeBruler does not have Seahawks fandom running through his veins.
In fact, he has never even been to a game.
But that didn't stop him from giving his Porsche 997 Turbo a one-of-a-kind Seahawks makeover any fan could appreciate.
"I guess I was a fair-weather fan," DeBruler said, noting he began to pay more attention to the team as it blossomed under head coach Pete Carroll in recent years. "I enjoy watching and I've been impressed with what I've seen in terms of the camaraderie."
The customization of the black exterior began with a pair of vinyl racing stripes, in neon green, before one of his staff members upped the ante.
"My vinyl guy came out an hour or so later, and told me to take a look at my car," DeBruler said, before offering his colorful reply. "What the hell did you do to my fender?"
The initial shock of a Seahawks green fender didn't last long.
After driving the car for a couple of days, DeBruler said had the inspiration for turning the car into a full-fledged tribute to the team, franchise and perhaps most importantly, its fans.
Along with green front fenders, the car has a "12" on the hood, Seahawks logos on the doors and "GO HAWKS" with a design matching the Native American motif on the team's jersey collar and pants.
He took the car into Seattle the following Sunday and parked near the hoards of fans to gauge their interest. To his surprise, the reaction was universal excitement.
"I was kind of embarrassed," he said. "Then I saw the smiles on their faces."
While he began the trip behind darkly tinted windows, DeBruler said it wasn't long before he was rolling around the stadium, catching stares and hearing cheers from fans waiting in lines outside eateries and pubs.
"This is what this is all about," he said. "People having fun."
Several members of the team are customers at Accutint and after DeBruler reached out, he was invited to the players parking lot before a practice, where he gathered signatures from a host of players and even general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.
"Russell Wilson was already there," he said, noting the quarterback's meticulous and already legendary work ethic. "It's a fun thing to do. It's all about The 12th Man and the Seahawks."
With a unique and evolving place in the fan culture of the city's most prized professional franchise, along with a customized Porsche that screams 12th Man from front to back, DeBruler said he believes he is in it for the long haul.
"The whole story is still evolving," he said. "It is a great way to show loyalty to the team, The 12th Man and the whole city."
Josh Suman is a staff writer for the Bellevue Reporter.