Friday, January 31, 2014

Seattle Seahawks: The12th Man Demystified!

Seattle Seahawks fever is reaching epic proportions as Super Bowl Sunday rapidly approaches. And the ingenuity of public display of the "12th Man" flag has been remarkable. How can you top displaying the symbolic standard than from atop Mt. Everest?

At the opposite end of the scale, a SCUBA diver displays the flag from the depths of Puget Sound!

Here, residents of Guam proudly display the colors.

This office building located on 2nd avenue in Seattle is one of several structural displays. It is 20 stories high,  created by lighting selected windows.

This example shows in more detail, a 12 story high rendition.

Groups of people are driven by Seahawk Fever to create human versions of the 12th Man standard. Above, students from rural Sultan, Washington proudly posed.

And troop in Afghanistan, took a few minutes to pose with the flag in Kandahar, taken a few years ago.

Even the ubiquitous Washington State Ferries are displaying the famous "12th Man" Flag.

Origins of the "12th Man"

Iowa football captain E.A. McGowan wrote about fans lifting the State University of Iowa to a victory in 1903.  

Wrote McGowan, in the 1912 Iowa Alumnus magazine: “As the Iowa team ran out on the field on that memorable day and looked at the thousands of valiant rooters waving their streamers and yelling, ‘Hold them, Iowa,’ there came a feeling into the hearts of those men who were wearing the Old Gold jerseys, and who were to uphold the honor of their university that, ‘We must win.’

“When the evening dusk began to gather over the field and the whistle had blown for the last down, the game was over with the score Iowa 12, Illinois 0.

“The eleven men had done their best; the twelfth man on the team (the loyal, spirited Iowa rooter) had won the game for old S.U.I.”

In the decades since, references to a 12th man have been both specific (to certain venues) and generic (any loud home field). 

The tradition of the "Twelfth Man" as we now know it, was born on the second of January 1922, when the underdog Texas A& M "Aggies, " was playing Centre College, then the nation's top ranked team.
[from ESPN] 

The Seattle Seahawks adopted the spirit of the 12th Man in 2004, and were immediately requested to "cease and desist" by Texas A&M.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office had issued trademark registrations to Texas A&M for "12th Man" and "Home of the 12th Man."

Texas A&M officials sent requests to stop using the phrase to the Seattle Seahawks in 2004 and 2005, to the Buffalo Bills, and the Chicago Bears. Both the Bills and the Bears responded to the requests stating they would no longer use the phrase, however the Seahawks did not respond to the request.

As a result, in January 2006, Texas A&M filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Seattle Seahawks to protect the trademark and in May 2006, the dispute was settled out of court. As part of the agreement, the Seahawks acknowledge Texas A&M's ownership rights of the trademarked phrase.

However, the NFL team may continue using it under license. Texas A&M licensed the Seahawks to continue using the phrase "12th Man" in exchange for $100,000, along with public acknowledgement by the NFL franchise as to Texas A&M's ownership of the phrase, and an additional annual fee, amounting to $7,500 per year.

Effects of the 12 Man on Team

The effects of the "12th man" vary widely, but can be put in two categories.

•  The first is simply psychological, the effect of showing the home team that they are appreciated, and showing the away team that they are somewhat unwelcome.

•  The second directly relates to the deafening effects of a loud crowd. The noise of the crowd can have a significant impact on the players on the field.

In American football, an extremely loud crowd can prevent the offensive linemen from hearing the snap count. This can have the effect of making the player slower to react when the ball is snapped, and his eventual response may be weaker than normal because each play is begun "with some indecision and doubt."

The noise can also prevent players from hearing audible signals and can make it difficult for the team's offense to coordinate plays in the huddle. The effect of the noise can often be measured in mistakes, such as false start penalties.

Coaches can take steps to minimize the effect of the crowd noise on their teams. Some American football teams bring large speakers to their practice fields and broadcast loud noises such as jet engines to prepare their teams for the anticipated noise level.

Crowd noise tends to diminish after a long lull in play, such as a pause for instant replay. Former NFL player Brian Baldinger speculates that some coaches draw out reviews as part of a coaching strategy to quiet the crowd for their next play.

The current world record for crowd noise at an athletic event was set on December 2, 2013, at an American football game in Seattle, Washington. Noise during that event reached a high of 137.6 decibels. A researcher from Harvard University discovered in a study that some association football referees appeared to be impacted by crowd noise. His studies revealed that a home team acquired an additional 0.1 goal advantage for every 10,000 fans in the stadium.

Seahawk Earthquakes

Not only can the Seahawk fans holler louder than any other US franchise, but they can also make the earth shake.  Seismograms from the Saints-Seahawks NFC Divisional Round, recorded by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, memorializes the Seahawk Quake of January 8, 2011 created when Hawks Marshon Lynch punched through the New Orleans Saints:

Marshon created another explosive quake, again playing the Saints three years later.  But the seismogram shows the second quake fell short of the original.

Here is the complete siesmogram for the decisive SeaHawk win over the San Francisco 49ers on January 19, 2014 at CenturyLink:

Three  sensors have been used to measure ground movement; one located about a block away from CenturyLink Stadium,

and two additional sensors were located in a janitor's closet behind the visitor's bench and behind a concession area on the 300 level of the stadium.

•  The Seahawks first played in the late Seattle King Dome.

•  Seahawks Stadium was built by Microsoft's co-founder, Paul Allen, construction 2000 - 2002. Renamed Qwest Field 2004–2011, renamed CenturyLink Field, 2011 to present.

•   Location.  The location plays an important part in seismic reaction to the fans.  This map of Seattle in 1895, show the area to be part of Elliott Bay.

•  A number of "regrades" of Seattle hills and various reclamation projects created a foundation for the expansion of the City to the south. Both the Seahawks CenturyLink Field and adjacent Safeco (Mariners) Stadiums are built on this massive landfill.

•  As for the sound levels inside the Stadium.  Architects readily agree that the tiers of seats form a cone of reflection which amplify the roar of the fans.

•  CenturyLink is also "home" for the Seattle Sounders Football Club.

•  SR99 "Bertha" Tunnel Boring Machine is a few hundred yards north of the Stadium.

 Boeing 747 Super Seahawk

Apparently a customer cancellation resulted in this new airfrieghter joining Boeing's Test Fleet.  And this week, Boeing Everett Paint Shop unveiled a magnificant tribute to the Seattle Seahawks, memorializing the "12th Man" and hash mark "Louder."

[Ed Note:  In the "Fun Facts" graphic below, there is mention of Skittles.  If you are not familiar with the Seahawks "Skittles" connection, read here.]

Boeing 12th Man - call sign BOE12 - proceeded to Eastern Washington, and flew a "12" pattern, visible only to Flight Tracking software users:

Tim Connors of Edmonds Washington had better hope the Seahawks win!  However, on the Jimmy Kimmel Show last night, he said it stays as is, no matter the outcome.

Interesting to note that 95% of fans interviewed stated they had no objection to the tattoo, whilst the other 5% feel strongly that he has "hexed" the outcome!

Finally, my sister gave me a "head's up" concerning a Bronco that got lost in Ferndale, Washington. Not a pretty sight!

No doubt you know where I will be Sunday Afternoon, in front of my Big Screen! "Go Hawks!"

See Also:  Taima's Remarkable Flight!

2 Comments - Click here:

Anonymous said...

Boeing made a special flight of this plane as you can see in this flight tracker
I hope the stadium is earthquake proof...
Daniel Kramer
(posting as anonymus since i had trouble logging with my google account...) said...

The Super Seahawk should be on hand to take the "Bronco's home after their defeat
loved the history and pictures--

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