Alumnus Drums for Seahawks at Super Bowl XLIX

It starts in the tunnel, at the northeast corner of Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, when they first touch the turf. It’s soft, after all those hours in the lots, walking Pioneer Square, drumming one-two-one-two-one-two, and then marching into F.X. McRory’s, which on game days is more clown car than bar, jammed with Richard Sherman jerseys and “12th Man” tattoos. Once they’re all in, they whack those drums until their ears go numb.

Brian Forsman '04 drums with Blue Thunder, the Seattle Seahawks drumline.“The tunnel is where it really hits you,” says Brian Forsman, a nine-year member of Blue Thunder, the Seattle Seahawks’ drumline. “You see it on the rookie’s faces the first time they’re in there. Their eyes just go wide.”

Then they’re out, and the crowd, 67,000 strong, really turns it on: A full house can generate more than 137 decibels, which is like standing next to a jet engine. It’s in the Guinness World Records book, if you want to check.

“You come out, and there’s this huge roar from the crowd,” says Forsman, 34, a 2004 graduate of Penn State Behrend. “The place is packed. The players are out there. The refs are out there. The Sea Gals and the TV people are out there. And you’re right in the middle of it.”

Forsman plays in Blue Thunder’s bass line. After the pre-game and the short set before kickoff, he’ll drum during time-outs and between quarters, sometimes with the full drumline and other times with a smaller contingent, which roams the stadium, engaging the fans.

Last week he traveled with the team to Glendale, Arizona, for Super Bowl XLIX.

He grew up a Chiefs fan. He marched in the Harbor Creek High School band and played in Penn State Behrend’s pep band, working the crowds at basketball games. He left with a degree in mechanical engineering technology, taking a job in Seattle. He figured he was done with drumming.

His first year out there, he got a ticket to a Seahawks game. He heard the drumline and was hooked.

“My second year, after I joined the line, I went full-in,” he says.

Blue Thunder plays high-energy, rock-style beats. “You have to have some technical skill,” Forsman says, “but it’s more important that you be an entertainer. I try to interact with the crowd as much as possible. I make eye contact. I get right up in people’s faces. We’re fired up, which gets them fired up, and before you know it, there are 500 or even a thousand people circled around you, and everybody’s having a great time.”

Had Seattle won the Super Bowl, Forsman would have played in the city’s victory parade.

“Last year’s was crazy,” he says. “They loaded us up on these team buses, with a police escort, and the entire way, people were getting out of their cars, waving and cheering. We’d come to an intersection, and people would be jammed in for like a block and a half in every direction, every one of them as happy as we were. That’s something I’ll remember forever.”