Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
While the Seattle Seahawks will forever refer to their fans as “12s”, the team is starting to remove references to the specific phrase “12th Man.” Their stadium, CenturyLink Field will carry the nickname “Home of the 12s” instead of “Home of the 12th Man” and the team’s social media accounts have used “12th Man” less frequently over recent months. The plan is to eventually eradicate all mentions of “12th Man” in reference to the Seahawks fans.
Why the change? Well, the Seahawks have never owned the phrase “12th Man.” It is actually Texas A&M and their fans who own that phrase as they’ve been using it since 1921. The school sued the Seahawks over a decade ago regarding their usage of the phrase and, as a result, the Seahawks have basically been borrowing the phrase while referencing Texas A&M as the owners. An out-of-court settlement reached between the two is set to expire in 2016. On the Seahawks official website, they have a section devoted to their fanbase and at the bottom of that page is the following:
® The term 12th MAN is a trademark of Texas A & M University and its use is pursuant to a license agreement with the university.
According to the Portland Oregonian, the last time the team’s Twitter account (@Seahawks) used the phrase was three years ago despite announcers and fans frequently throwing it around. Furthermore, the team created a new Twitter account (@12s) to promote the new branding. The Twitter handle “@12thMan” is owned by A&M and is the official Twitter feed for the school’s athletic department.
So while the organization is ceasing references to “12th Man”, don’t expect fans to do the same, at least initially. Adam Jones will always be known as PacMan Jones. Dwayne Johnson will forever be called ‘The Rock’. And the Seahawks fans will forever be known as the ’12th Man’ despite the re-branding.