Sunday NFL Countdown examines the mystery of “the Seahawks gnome”

In March 2014, a garden gnome detailed in Seattle Seahawks colors and belonging to a Tumwater, Wash., couple, Branden and Dana Smith, disappeared from their front yard.

About six months later, the gnome mysteriously reappeared ahead of the Seahawks’ regular-season opener – accompanied by a calendar of pictures showing the many places it had travelled.

There were pictures showing the garden gnome at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Yellowstone National Park, with Las Vegas showgirls and at many other tourist spots in America’s west.

Is this a classic “garden gnome prank” – stealing and photographing a gnome at famous landmarks, and returning it to its owner with the pictures? No one knows.

While the Smiths are still wondering “Who done it?,” the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of their Seahawks garden gnome will be featured on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown (10 a.m. ET). The piece is reported by Greg Garber and produced by associate producer Rachel Sampson.

“We’ve heard a lot from Seahawks star players and about ‘The 12th Man.’ The pictures of the ‘Hawks gnome in several parts of the country provide a unique way to connect the passion Seattle fans share with their Super Bowl-winning team,” said Countdown coordinating producer Greg Jewell, who green-lit the feature.

But to Sampson, who pitched the story idea in September, “the mystery behind the gnome story is very intriguing to me. No one knows who took it.”

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