theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

February 14, 2014

Sorry 'Hawks, 12th Man is taken

Art Lawler Staff Writer adanewslawler@cableone.net
www.theadanews.com

Ada — Just think how good the new world champions of football might have been had their 12th man been fully intact for this year’s Super Bowl.

Unfortunately they couldn’t take everybody from Seattle to New Jersey, which is why the ’Hawks only won, 43-8.

But let’s just stop it right there now. The 12th man has already been taken.

I’m not an Aggie. Never have been an Aggie, but I have a daughter-in-law who’s an Aggie alumna, complete with bonfire on the wall in a San Antonio den. And there’s no such thing as an Aggie ex, barf, barf.

When it comes to Aggie stuff, these folks aren’t reasonable. In fact, they’re crazy. It’s the kind of crazy that comes from the heart, granted. 

Those Aggies drive me nuts, just the same. 

On the other hand...

I’ve covered several football games at College Station over the years, and even when they lose by 40 or 50 points, they sway. Heck, they gave up 70 to Oklahoma one year. 

Didn’t stop ’em. They still locked arms and swayed back and forth and sang that dadgum Aggie War Hymn with tears of pride running down their autumn cheeks. It looked like Custer's last stand down on the field.

I’m there on business, and I still have to brush my arms to keep the goose bumps at bay before I go to the winning locker room.

So yes, they’re almost as crazy as Seattle Seahawks fans, who seem to be trying to break the sound barrier while pilfering the 12th man franchise.

Never thought I’d be doing this, but, oh well. On behalf of all Texas Aggie fans, I bring forth the following obligatory protest for the sake of family peace.

• It belongs to Texas A&M. After all, they came up with it 92 years ago, and they’ve had it almost since the creation of ball.

Yes, there are specific names for other sports, like basketball, baseball, dodgeball, handball and softball.

But in the fall, we play ball, all the way through Christmas and New Year's right into February. That’s fall ball to the uninitiated.

I can’t imagine an Aggie fan not bristling over the Seattle Seahawks' usurpation of the 12th man franchise.

Besides that, those two entities have been down this road before.

Every game the newly crowned world champions play when they use that spirit booster in a commercial way, they pay Texas A&M $5,000 smackers.

Look it up. It’s in the court records.

The Aggies copyrighted the “12th Man” back in 1990. And they sued none other than the Seattle Seahawks for using it commercially with their then-downtrodden franchise. 

The Aggies own it. Just ask them. 

The Seahawks lease it. A&M sued the Seahawks a few years back for trademark infringement, and it wasn’t  settled  ’til the Aggie lawyers got the Seahawks lawyers to fork over $5,000 for each commercial use of “The 12th Man.” 

Seattle must also admit, right out there in front of God and Gov. Christie, that they are leasing the name “Home of the 12th Man.” 

It’s part of the settlement agreement —  the grovel part.

The Seahawks may be the best football team in the world right now. The Denver Broncos would grudgingly concede that fact with their blistered hides, but...

So what?

Well, I’ll tell you what, whippersnapper. The Seattle Seahawks’ 12th man — that perhaps being you — and all those crazy folks up in the Northwest — are knockoffs. Cheap, imitation knockoffs.

Nothing personal, I’m just sayin’...

Says so right there in the agreement made between the school and the professional team back in 1990.

How dare Seattle fans attach a No. 12 flag to the top of the Space Needle. Blasphemous! 

This will catch you up on your 12th man history, if you’ll pay attention.

Last season, teams averaged 2:36 false starts per game for Hawk opponents. That’s as good as cheating and getting away with it for the home fans. 

Seattle fans think they’re louder than thou, but I’m here to tell you, one of these days, sooner than later, there’s going to be a massive explosion — one heard by the television audience, but not the spectators at the game.

They’re going to keep on trying to up the decibel level until it reaches the eardrum-bursting level of 150 decibels.

They reached 137.6 in the playoffs this year, which means they’re 12.4 decibels away from everybody in that stadium having their eardrums burst.

I assume that hurts. 

I do know this much; the stadium will become immediately silent at that point. All of those fans will suddenly hear nothing but silence inside CenturyLink Field. 

A thousand miles away, inside a comfortable den, some grouchy guy in a wifebeater undershirt and boxer shorts will pick up his remote and turn down the sound over his digital TV. But his eardrums should be fine.

The players will have to stop playing, at least until they can get a coach who can teach them sign language.

 Then, and only then, can the rest of us get some peace and quiet. Seahawk fans will have no choice but to join us.

Now sit down and shut up ,world champs, and keep forking over those $5,000 checks to lure the next Manziel to A&M. 

Here are some 12th-man facts, or at least, purported facts:

• Ever been near a jet plane at takeoff, at least within 100 yards of it? You’ll hear approximately 100 decibels when you do something that stupid. 

 That’s far below Seahawk 12th Man fan quality.

• On Jan, 28, just a few days ago, Seahawk fans shook Earth — as in planet Earth — when Hawk running back Marshawn Lynch broke loose on a 67-yard touchdown run, breaking a half dozen tackles along the way. 

The run clinched a spot in the Super Bowl for Seattle. 

I haven’t seen a Richter scale reading to prove it, but the newly crowned champions are making such a claim. No question they felt it.

• The Seahawk fans’ crowning achievement occurred last Nov. 27, when the fans literally became a 12th man. 

Here’s what happened: The Giants jumped offsides in that game 11 times. Can you imagine the Hawk 12th-man swagger that day?

The Giants also missed three field goals. 

Hawk fans have graciously agreed to take credit for each and every one of those Giant mishaps.

• First known reference to the 12th man: E. King Gill of Texas A&M University in 1922. 

Students at Texas A&M began using the term as their moniker in the 1920s, and the school formally trademarked the term in 1990, says Wikipedia, which is only wrong four or five times a day.

Gill and his actions in Dallas on the second day of January 1922 started it all. 

It was at the Dixie Classic, the forerunner of the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Texas A&M (then known as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas) played defending national champion Centre College. 

You know how tough those Centre teams were. 

In this hard-fought game, which produced national publicity, an underdog Aggie team was slowly but surely defeating a team which had three All-Americans. 

During the game, A&M coach Dana X. Bible realized that one more injury would leave him without another backfield player to send into the game. In those days, depth was unheard of.

Coach Bible remembered that Gill, an individual who had tried out for the squad but “lacked the experience and ability to play for the varsity,” had made the trip as a member of the school’s Corps of Cadets. 

Just so happened, he was sitting with his friends in the stands. Bible sent for Gill and asked him to suit up and be ready if needed.

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.”

 Although Gill did not actually play in the game, his readiness to play was noted. With 11 Aggies on the field, E. King Gill became the 12th man.

 Any questions?