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I do not understand sports - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
April 9th, 2008
12:38 pm

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I do not understand sports
Or people. Or sportspeople.

On my way in to work, the car in front of me had a license plate frame labeled "12th fan, strong and proud", or something very similar.

Shouldn't that be "12th MAN"?

So, I googled it when I got in, in case there was something special about being the 12th fan that I don't understand. And, sure enough, there are numerous Seattle Seahawks hits about being the 12th fan. Did somebody screw up when they did the promotion, and now it's caught hold in the popular consciousness?

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From:ginsu
Date:April 9th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
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I'm going to take a stab that it's a joke. Texas A&M's 12th man concept is very sincere, because the fanbase is rabid and numerous and deeply loyal; but the Seahawks are not distinguished by a glorious tradition of success in the NFL. So if you talk about being the 12th fan, you are implying there are only 11 others.
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From:tsmaster
Date:April 9th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
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I don't buy that - the hits I got seemed just as sincere and rabid as any other sporty fandom.

And I'm not sure I see the "only" 11 others. "At least" 11, sure.
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From:ginsu
Date:April 9th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
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I notice Googling that there is also a 12th Man Seahawks tradition just like A&M's, and it gets far more hits (69K+ vs. 58).

This suggests that the 12th Fan variation would be either a parody or some sort of catastrophic failure to understand the implicit sarcasm (such as our culture is often guilty of, along the lines of "I could care less").

And I'm not sure I see the "only" 11 others. "At least" 11, sure.

Well, the original tradition is that anyone in the crowd is always prepared to step in and play on the team, if one of the original 11 player are injured (we're ignoring the concept of the bench). So mapping that idea to fans implies there are similarly only 11 regular fans.

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From:scoreboard
Date:April 9th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
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I think the Seahawks retired #12 at the dawn of the franchise - and I suspect the "12th Fan" is to allow for the possibility of copyrighting the phrase and not have to contend with Aggies and other persons of no background in the use of the phrase "12th Man."
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From:rechercher
Date:April 11th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
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My personal guess is that they changed it from "12th Man" to "12th Fan" to avoid sounding sexist. Just a guess, though.
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