According to the official rules put forth by the National Football League, in American, football only 11 players are allowed to play on the field at any given time. What, then is the 12th Man? The 12th Man is a name several teams have given to their fans, thus displaying their devotion to and enthusiasm for the team. Although originally used by the Texas A&M Aggies, the 12th Man is a term that has become most famously associated with the Seattle Seahawks fan base. These Seattle fans are regarded by some as the loudest fans in the NFL.
The number 12 was first officially associated with fans of the Seattle Seahawks in 1984, by then Seahawks’ President Mike McCormack, when the number 12 jersey was retired in honor of their fans and the impact that they had on the success of the team. The team honored the 12s again in 2003 when 12 original season ticket holders hoisted a 12 Flag before kickoff. Additionally, the flag is raised in honor of the 12s before kickoff at every home game. Being asked to raise the flag has become an honor itself. Then, in 2005, after an intense overtime win against the New York Giants, Coach Mike Holmgren dedicated that game’s ball to the 12th Man. Since then, that ball has been known as the 12th Man Ball and resides in their home stadium, CenturyLink Field.
The Significance of the 12th Man
Its nice touch to name your fan base and appreciate them by giving them a number, but what exactly is the significance of the 12th man? The importance lies mainly in home games when the fans can become a figurative 12th man on the playing field. Although an actual 12th player isn’t allowed, fans can make things more difficult for the opposing team if they are loud enough.
Seattle Seahawks fans are proud of their reputation as one of, if not the, loudest fans in the NFL, and thus take every opportunity to uphold that reputation. In fact, the Seahawk 12s hold the record for the second loudest recording in the world, coming in at a decibel reading of 137.6. To add some perspective, 150 decibels will cause your eardrums to rupture, and 140 is the sound level of an aircraft carrier flight deck. Yes, they were that loud! This nearly eardrum rupturing level of sound was recorded in a 2013 game against the San Francisco 49ers.
If you need any more proof of the dedication, enthusiasm, and noise level of the Seahawk’s 12th man, consider the fact that they have caused a small earthquake. Known as the Beast Quake, this event was caused during the 2011 game when running back Marshawn Lynch had a 67-yard touchdown run. It registered at a 1 on the Richter Scale, and could be felt for a few blocks around the stadium
The 12th Man of the Seattle Seahawks has a reputation for being one of the loudest NFL fan bases in the country, a reputation they make sure to uphold at every opportunity. Go Hawks!