Crawford, a native of Spokane and a long-time supporter of the Spokane Shock, submitted his design to a national contest sponsored by the AFL, and fans had the opportunity to pick the winner.
“The ‘Ninth Man’ stepped up,” Crawford says of the notoriously dedicated fans.
Crawford won by a landslide, receiving 293 votes — the second-place winner received just 146. Submissions varied from professional pieces, like Crawford’s (above), to crayon cartoons from children.
Crawford, a graphic designer at Huppin's, graduated from Eastern Washington University and has been wild about the local arena football team since its inaugural season in 2006. That year, he bought season tickets for his wife as a college graduation present.
Five years later, Crawford’s wife returned the favor. After a bit of convincing, she talked him into entering the competition. About six hours of work later, Crawford had completed what would become the winning design and submitted it to the competition.
Word quickly spread of Crawford’s design. After being interviewed by KREM 2 news and receiving a mention on the Shock’s Facebook page, Crawford’s votes spiked and pushed him from third place to the top.
“It was one of those creative moments where everything kind of worked its way through and came together,” says Crawford.
The design will be featured on all ArenaBowl XXIV merchandise, bringing Crawford notoriety he says many graphic designers do not achieve. The AFL will also present Crawford with two tickets to the ArenaBowl, entry to the AFL Award Banquet before the game, and an official football engraved with his logo.
Crawford says he may not attend the Aug. 12 game, however, depending on the location of the game. The Shock, one of 18 teams in the AFL, is currently in last place in the National Conference West Division, with a 3-5 record, making the chances of a repeat of last year’s ArenaBowl low.
But like a true fan, Crawford still has his hopes up.
“If the Shock happen to turn around and pull out a miracle and bring it back to Spokane, that’d be cool,” he says with a laugh.