One of the greatest traditions at Texas A&M is the recognition of the “12th Man.” But for some reason, other teams — at the college and professional levels — keep trying to make the “12th Man” their own.
The Seattle Seahawks are maybe the most well-known. When the organization started using the phrase, Texas A&M sued them, claiming infringement on the school’s trademark. In 2006, the teams settled and Seattle agreed to pay the university a licensing fee.
Monday, Florida State took out an ad in the Tallahassee Democrat to remind people to buy football tickets, and they used the “12th Man” phrase that ruffled Texas A&M’s feathers. Senior associate athletics director Jason Cook immediately took to Twitter:
Lots of internet lawyers out today. Trademarks are not based on the last nat’l champion, or if I’ve been to a team’s stadium. #12thMan— Jason Cook (@jason_cook) June 1, 2014
After all the ruckus on Twitter, Florida State tweeted out an amended version of the ad.
Texas A&M’s “12th Man” tradition began in 1922 when a depleted Aggie roster pulled a fan named E. King Gill from the stands and suited him up to play. He never stepped on the field, but his gesture of willingness to help should the Aggies need him turned into a special tradition. The words “Home of the 12th Man” are proudly displayed inside Kyle Field and the entire university is considered the “12th Man.”