The blue-and-green 12 logo is everywhere in New York and New Jersey.
It was on a flag waved by the pilot of the Seattle Seahawks’ charter when it landed in Newark earlier this week. It is on an electronic billboard in the middle of Times Square. It adorned shirts and signs held at media day Tuesday.
The Seahawks talk repeatedly about the “12s” and the “12th Man.”
The team licenses the phrase from Texas A&M, reaching an out-of-court settlement in February 2006 after the university sued for trademark infringement. The Seahawks paid A&M $100,000 up front and $5,000 annually for a five-year deal.
Jason Cook, A&M’s senior associate athletic director, said the deal was renewed in 2011 for another five years at $5,000 per year.
Still, the Seahawks’ use of the No. 12 remains a sore subject in Aggieland, where the term “12th Man” first was used in 1922. E. King Gill, a basketball player, left the stands and suited up for an injury-plagued squad in a game that season against Centre College. He never played but was the last man standing when the game ended.
In 1990, the Aggies trademarked “12th Man.”
Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman winner, posted a tribute to the “REAL 12th man” after the NFC Championship Game. He included a portrait of him holding the hand of a young Aggie fan.
The Seahawks, who retired the No. 12 in a tribute to their fans in 1984, have three Aggies on their roster. Defensive end Michael Bennett and running back Christine Michael refuse to be drawn into a debate over ownership of 12th Man.
“They’re both the 12th Man to me,” Bennett said.
Defensive end Red Bryant, whose father-in-law, Jacob Green, the Seahawks’ all-time sack leader, works for the 12th Man Foundation at A&M, vigorously defends Aggieland as home of the “real 12th Man.”
“We’ve got to pay A&M,” Bryant said. “That’s the 12th Man. You know how much I love Seattle. Seattle’s been great for me and my family. It’s been great for my in-laws. But the 12th Man is in College Station, Texas. Hopefully, the world knows it, but if they don’t know it, they know it now.”
Jammer’s Super season
Quentin Jammer didn’t have his best season, making only one start, 14 tackles and defending three passes. But it rates as his best season.
Jammer, a reserve cornerback in Denver after 11 seasons and 161 starts in San Diego, finds himself in the Super Bowl for the first time.
“After 12 years, it’s just exciting,” Jammer said. “It’s an exciting time in my life. We don’t get many of these opportunities, so you enjoy it while you have it.”
The former University of Texas standout and the fifth overall pick in the 2002 draft, signed a one-year contract with the Broncos for a $1 million base salary. He went from starter to role player.
“It was difficult,” Jammer said. “But when you’re on a team, like the one I’m on now and you know you have an opportunity to get to this point, late in your career, you just take advantage of all opportunities that you have and go out and make plays.
“Mentally, you stay in it because in a game anything can happen. … Even if you’re not really getting a lot of reps at practice, you just need to stay in it so that you always prepare for whatever goes on.”