More 12s, and less 12th Man this year.
Seattle Seahawks fans have embraced the 12th Man as their identity, representing the positive impact fans have on the 11 players on the field. But the Seahawks organization will reference the 12th Man far less this year – but not because the organization is trying to better acknowledge its legions of female fans.
The phrase is trademarked – and not by the Seahawks. Texas A&M owns 12th Man.
The team agreed to the new five-year deal with Texas A&M University this week, limiting the Seahawks' use of the phrase.
The agreement means the Seahawks will no longer mention the "12th Man" on social media, and won't show it on the giant ring around the stadium that highlights top donors. The team will still pay $140,000 for limited rights of the phrase.
Fans are likely to see the word 12s blasted across social media, merchandise and at the games. The Seahawks have their own trademark on 12, 12s, We Are 12, and other phrases.
It’s the first update to the Seahawks/A&M agreement since Michael Young became president of Texas A&M. He was University of Washington’s president from 2011-2015.
There's no denying who had the 12th Man first – Texas A&M dates the tradition back to 1922:
The tradition of the Twelfth Man was born on the second of January 1922, when an underdog Aggie team was playing Centre College, then the nation's top ranked team. As the hard fought game wore on, and the Aggies dug deeply into their limited reserves, Coach Dana X. Bible remembered a squad man who was not in uniform.
He had been up in the press box helping reporters identify players. His name was E. King Gill, and was a former football player who was only playing basketball.
Gill was called from the stands, suited up, and stood ready throughout the rest of the game, which A&M finally won 22-14.
When the game ended, E. King Gill was the only man left standing on the sidelines for the Aggies. Gill later said, "I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I did not. I simply stood by in case my team needed me."