What a fantastic weekend for football. The Broncos Peyton Manning shredded the Patriots, Seattle's Richard Sherman put on a show and Texas A&M fans rushed Twitter to defend the “12th Man.”
Aggies love their traditions and going after any fan base that uses the phrase might be its own budding ritual. Like clockwork, every time the Seahawks play my TweetDeck is filled with the A&M faithful denouncing the use of term that both Texas A&M and the Seattle Seahawks contractually agreed that they could both use. The Seahawks even pay Texas A&M to use it (more on that in a bit).
The official Texas A&M Twitter account fueled the flames by firing off six tweets yesterday with the hashtag #12thman, no doubt capitalizing on the Seahawks success and visibility.
There's no denying the passion of Aggie fans:
• Sorry Seahawks...but the 12th Man is at Texas A&M.— Granger Smith (@GrangerSmith) January 20, 2014
• The 12th man is still better in Texas!#Gigem— Tyler Scoggin (@TylerScoggin) January 20, 2014
• WHAT THE HECK. Seahawks y'all aren't the 12th man. You can't just steal that. 😒 #Gigem— Haley Little (@haleylittlee) January 20, 2014
• Seattle's "12th man" nonsense angers me. #GigEm— King Barr (@HunterBarr36) January 20, 2014
- rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) January 20, 2014
- Cody Bland (@BigBlandTheory) January 19, 2014
Feel bad for the person at Texas A&M that keeps tracks of all the tweets about the 12th Man so the school knows who to sue.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) January 20, 2014
A&M's Associate Athletic Director Jason Cook also got in on the fun:
• Texas A&M's licensing agreement with Seattle does not allow the production of #12thMan apparel or other items.— Jason Cook (@jason_cook) January 20, 2014
In 2006, Texas A&M and the Seahawks settled a lawsuit outside of court. The Seahawks agreed to pay A&M royalties to use the phrase, although an A&M spokesman said the agreement was more about protecting the brand than making money. Seattle pays Texas A&M $5,000 a year to use the phrase.
The agreement ends in 2016 and the spokesman said "if" the university decides to partner again with Seattle that it would "not be the same type of contract." He wouldn't say what a new contract would look like, that's probably being worked on by the lawyers, but said that A&M officials are being very proactive in their negotiations with Seattle and that there is some sort of current talks. Although the contract doesn't end until 2016, a new agreement could be reached sooner.
Whatever route the university takes, it will certainly take more than $5,000 to appease the Aggie fans.