Pity the poor fan with a seat in the shadow of Phil Andruss. Not because Andruss is six foot five and rarely sits down, although that does technically make the rows behind him “obstructed view.” No, it’s his hair—five shellacked, foot-tall barbs of pure follicular intimidation—that pose a legitimate safety hazard. Standing too close during a celebration could get you impaled.
The hair began its ascent during the Seahawks’ 2005 playoff run, when Andruss shaved his pedestrian Caesar cut into a two-inch Mohawk for the NFC Championship game against the Carolina Panthers. The Hawks won, of course, but were famously robbed by the refs in the Super Bowl. In protest, Andruss declared of his new ’do, “I’m going to rock it until we win the Super Bowl.”
As it grew, so did his legend, thanks to appearances in local newspapers, regional soccer mags (he goes to Sounders games, too), and even ESPN the Magazine. And despite its aggressive posture, the Mohawk has brought him closer to his fellow fans. “I could take the hair to sporting events—especially Seahawks games—and I got invited to people’s tailgates,” he says. “People were giving me food and drinks, treating me like family.”
“Putting the hair up,” as Andruss calls it, has started to feel like an obligation (it takes almost an hour to do). “But I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like doing it,” he says. “It’s just me being me and showing my pride on the outside as much as I have it on the inside.” Just watch you don’t get too close to that pride—it’ll put your eye out.
Favorite play from 2013 Jermaine Kearse’s game-winning touchdown reception in Week One. “Everybody said we couldn’t win on the road, and we started the season with a big win on the road against Carolina, who had mad D.”
Below are behind-the-scenes images of his transformation.
All photos by Michael Clinard.