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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

October 3, 2014 at 1:46 PM

12th Man reaction: Seattle Times readers fire back at Texas A&M alum

The 12th Man cheers from the 300 level as a giant 12 is made from ribbons before the Seahawks' season opener against the Packers on Sept. 4.  Bettina Hansen / Seattle Times staff

The 12th Man cheers from the 300 level of CenturyLink Field as a giant 12 is made from ribbons before the Seahawks’ season opener against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4.
Bettina Hansen / Seattle Times staff

The Take 2 essay entitled “Texas A&M alum on why the 12th Man doesn’t live in Seattle” by Terrance Quinlan, a former Seattle resident who went to Texas A&M, is drawing a lot of reaction, so much that I’m updating it Saturday night with several more compelling emails, both pro and con.

Predictably, Seahawks 12th Men (and women) don’t like his contention that the 12th Man can come only from College Station, Texas, not from the Pacific Northwest. Many people contend that even though Texas A&M popularized the term and trademarked it, Seahawks fans have taken it to a different level.

Personally, I think both sides have a point, and there is room for two sets of 12th Men. Texas A&M has a right to be proud of its 12th Man tradition. So do the Seahawks. I’ve never been to an A&M game, but I doubt their home crowd is as loud as the loud, proud Seahawks fans that leave your ears ringing at CenturyLink.

For what’s it worth, here’s what Wikipedia says about the 12th Man phenomenon.

Here are some of the emails I received in response to the original blog post. If you’d like to email Terrance directly, you can reach him at

NFL scene is different than college

Just read the column by Terrance Quinlan on the 12th Man.  Believe it or not, we fans know our history! I remember the whole brouhaha over the copywrited nickname and how Texas A&M and the Seahawks settled it.

We don’t, however, need to know A&M’s history because we aren’t Aggies.  So the solution we silly fans came up with, even though the Hawks are paying A&M for the use of that phrase,  is to drop the “Man” part of the label.  Fans now refer to ourselves as simply The Twelves, 12s or 12.  And if Hawk fans want to paint their faces, wear neon shoes, have cutesie whatever, well, pro football is a different scene from NCAA.

– H. Sanjume

Must reading for ever Seahawks fan

My campaign hat is off and a salute to Terrance Quinlan for the historic essay in The Seattle Times. The original 12th Man was a needed volunteer from the cadet corp in the bleachers for the Texas A&M game to continue.I’

I am a from Texas A&M’s Classes of 1949 and ’52, a longtime resident of Seattle who know lives in Texas, but a Seahawks fan in perpetuity. I suggest that a copy of this essay be given to every attendee at every Seahawks football game, at least while they are the champions, or longer.  Then they will know the rest of the true story.

– Bill R. Ellsworth, Denison, Texas

12th Man definitely lives in the Northwest

I went to Texas A&M.

I live in the great state of Washington.

I saw the Seahawks win their first game in 1976

I am a Seahawks season-ticket holder

The 12th Man is all about giving yourself (all of yourself) to support the team.

This man and the 12th Man definitely lives in the Northwest

– Scott Hall

Bring on the painted faces, wigs

I don’t think Seahawks fans (including me) care about the other No. 12s. We are just fun-loving sports fans who love our team and have found a great way to unite and support them as a solid, unified group. So bring on the painted faces, the wigs and awesome apparel that stamps us as a Seahawk 12th Fan. And as our awesome quarterback says: GO HAWKS!

– Vera Taylor

Why did Seahawks try to steal, reinvent name?

Texas A&M had the 12th Man before there even was a Seahawks team, so they are the real owners of the name and should be disappointed with the way the Seahawks have tried to steal the name and reinvent it.

As with most sports things in the Pacific Northwest, the Seahawks show no originality in using the name. Why not come up with your own name instead of just using, and using poorly, someone else’s name?  Finally, as an aside, where was the Seahawks’ 12th Man for most of the life of the franchise?

Thank you for printing such a thoughtful article.

– Miles Adam, Medina

Astonishing piece of ignorance

Doesn’t the NFL have enough problems without Mr. Quinlan claiming that in 1896, “the Pacific Northwest was practically an unsettled outpost of civilization.”There were plenty of people here; they had civilization; and they had been here a whole heck of a lot longer than there has been a Texas A&M or football.

What an astonishing piece of ignorance.

– Tristan Goldman

Both sides can take pride

Having lived through the 1930s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s 2000’s, 2010’s, up to present day 2014, and being a sports lover, I can verify that Texas A&M originated the 12th Man theme long before there was a Seattle Seahawks organization.

Just as we are proud to have originated “The Wave” at Husky Stadium, I can understand the pride that Texas A&M has in its long association with the 12th Man.

I do feel Seahawks fans can also take pride in developing the 12th Man theme for a pro-football team’s international support. I think A&M should also feel proud that the fan support for their 12th Man concept has taken hold so strongly for the Seahawks fans and is recognized throughout the world.

It’s a great concept, and can easily be used by both the Texas A&M (college) community and by the Seattle Seahawks’ (pro) international fan community.

– Dick Applestone, Bellevue

Be proud and then move on

Terrance Quinlan, you are the epitome of what is wrong with our country.  You have joined the masses of those who spend their lives looking for something to be offended about.

The Seattle Seahawk’s 12th Man was not created in an effort to offend any tradition at Texas A&M.  The Seahawks‘ 12th Man was created by the sheer dedication to decibel level and the realization that our fans could provide some measurable effect on the outcome of games.  The NFL actually helped create the Seahawks‘ 12th Man when they unsuccessfully tried to introduce penalties against our home crowd for making too much noise and disrupting the opposing teams ability to hear (look it up).

The Seahawks retired the No. 12 on December 15, 2004 to honor their passionate fan base. It had nothing to do with trying to steal your catch phrase, as most of you seem to think.  There was not a peep from Texas A&M until 20 years later when the Seahawks made an appearance in the Super Bowl, and you jumped at the opportunity to exploit the media coverage.

Your sudden outcry did nothing but confirm that A&M, feeling inferior by living in the shadow of other more notable Texas universities, would do anything to generate attention.  There are thousands of Seahawks 12th Men who have, or who do, serve our country and hundreds who have also died for it.  Please don’t bastardize your own 12th Man by insinuating that you have a trademark on that, too.

The Seattle Seahawks‘ 12th Man is loud and proud, and nothing you write will ever take that away from us. We have our 12th Man and you have yours.  You can choose to be proud of yours and move on, or choose to be offended by ours and continue to be bitter.  Good luck with that decision.  Go Hawks!

– Rod W. Tucker

Some new shoes might help

Yes, we know all of that. Your girlfriend might kiss you back if you wore day-glo shoes.

– Kenneth Roger

Texas A&M is part of 12th Man heritage

I am fully expecting to get massacred on  Twitter but  I want Terrance Quinlan to know we are not all ignorant or threatened by the origins of the 12th Man.  I read the piece and tweeted the following:

“Texas A&M is part of our heritage.  We say we’re better but they WE’RE 1st.  Why is that bad to admit? #12thMan

– Laura Dalrymple

Hawks can write their own history book

Love the history lesson!  Now all Hawk fans are writing their own history!


– Kelly D. McCann

Texas A&M didn’t invent the phrase

The phrase was created by mid-west school in the early 1900’s.  Texas A&M was only the first school to copyright the phrase.  Why is that not in your little propaganda piece?

– Evan Adolph

Thanks for setting us Northwesterners straight

Thank you so much for setting us knuckle-dragging Pacific Northwesterners straight on just who the 12th Man is.  However, I was very saddened to learn while that, what I’m sure was a booming metropolis at the time, the fine folks in College Station, Texas, were deprived of being able to watch the great sport of American football until 1896.

I feel so incredibly fortunate that my forefathers were able to watch the sport several years earlier up here in our “practically unsettled outpost of civilization” in 1889 at a place called the University of Washington. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.


– Shane Savery, Seattle

Minnesota coined the phrase, not Texas A&M

Texas A&M claims the term 12th Man, but it wasn’t invented by that university. The University of Minnesota has a earlier-use right to it. Seattle and Texas A&M use the term very differently. Seattle uses it in the same way it is referenced in an article in a publication by the UM in 1900.

– Douglas Dietiker

Lose the attitude and who cares?

Instead of rubbing it in someones face with a snide, holier-than-now attitude, why say anything at all? Who gives a crap who had the 12th Man first? WHO CARES?

Why does this idiot care about what we do in the pros?

– Cameron McManus

Wear term proudly, but don’t be insulting

I graduated from Texas A&M, Class of 1980, and was a rabid football fan who only missed one home game from 1976 to 1981.  Being a part of it, I completely understand the 12th Man thing.  I also understand its use in Seattle and if every team in the NFL and college football wanted to use the term, I would be kind of proud that we started it at Texas A&M.

If Terrance Quinlan really wants to inform Seahawks fans about the history of the term, he should just tell them the history, proudly and without insulting them.  I moved to Seattle in 2006 and proudly support the Seahawks, attending the NFC Championship game last year.

–  Scott Forrest, Tacoma

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