With Seattle's treat-every-game-like-a-championship-game mentality, the team will put plenty of stock into Sunday's primetime meeting with the Packers. But for one Seahawks player who hails from Green Bay, the stock he'll have invested holds a much more literal meaning.
Drew Nowak rooted for the Packers in his Wisconsin youth while growing up in De Pere, located less than 15 minutes away from the Packers' Lambeau Field. It's an area where his mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and countless friends still reside. In fact, with Green Bay being the NFL's only publicly-owned franchise, Nowak's grandpa recently purchased family members stock in the club.
"My grandpa bought us stock each year they offered it," the 25-year-old Nowak said from his locker at Seahawks headquarters this week. "I think it's been three or four years now and we have a certificate framed of each year in our basement."
Nowak, a defensive tackle in college who earned Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior at Western Michigan, converted to offensive line in the NFL after signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2012. He spent time on Seattle's practice squad last year and won the Seahawks' starting center job in the team's 2015 training camp, replacing Max Unger who was traded to the New Orleans Saints this past offseason.
Nowak said he's looking forward to this weekend's 'homecoming' game and expects to see "a lot of Drew Nowak supporters" in the stands and in the suite that his parents own as he makes his second career-start for the Seahawks.
"My mom said if you're coming up in the box you've got to wear Seahawks gear," Nowak said. "So my family will be wearing Seahawks gear, but I know a lot of my friends still bleed Green and Gold and they'll be wearing Packer gear."
As a kid in Packers country, Nowak idolized NFL defensive lineman Reggie White, a 13-time Pro Bowler, 10-time first-team All-Pro, two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and Pro Football Hall of Famer. Nowak collected White's jerseys and like White wore No. 92 in high school and college.
"I wanted to be like Reggie White," Nowak said. "I wanted to be like the 'Minister of Defense.' He was my guy. I have his Packers jersey, I have his throwback Eagles jersey, so I really wanted to be like him."
Nowak said he marked the Seahawks' Week 2 matchup on the NFL schedule because Lambeau Field has been a place he's "always dreamed about playing at." But the Seahawks center made it clear he'll have no problem pushing his childhood fandom aside once he hits the field.
"Every time before a game you'd just get those chills at Lambeau," he said. "I'm definitely probably going to feel that way when we go there. But it doesn't mean I don't want to beat them just as much."
From their face-off in 1976 when the Seahawks franchise just began, to last year's intense NFC Championship, journey back to every Seahawks vs Packers game.