From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Danny O’Neil : (link courtesy Jon Solomon)
False-start penalties were the most tangible sign of the success of Seattle’s 12th man last season.And now, the Seahawks won’t have to worry about illegal-procedure penalties for promoting the 12th man after reaching an agreement to end a lawsuit filed by Texas A&M.
The settlement was announced Monday in a joint release. The Seahawks will continue using the No. 12 and referring to the 12th man, but with a nod of acknowledgement toward the school that copyrighted the term.
“You won’t see any change,” said Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke. “In certain places we will acknowledge their license and trademark.”
An e-mail sent to faculty, staff and students at Texas A&M stated the Seahawks had been granted a license to use the 12th man in a seven-state area that encompasses their broadcast area. The Seahawks paid for the license and will state the school owns the trademark.
The 12th man tradition began at Texas A&M in the 1920s. The Seahawks adopted it in 1984 when they retired the number, and it became more prominent this past season when the volume at Qwest Field was so loud, more false-start penalties were committed there than in any other NFL stadium.
“Once they got into it, they realized it was the real deal here,” Leiweke said. “It wasn’t a one-time marketing slogan … there was something real and authentic here.”
A Texas A&M spokesman declined comment.