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Seahawks reach deal on '12th Man' phrase

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (May 8, 2006) -- The fight over the "12th Man" is over and both Texas A&M and the Seattle Seahawks will be able to use the phrase.

Texas A&M and the Seahawks said they had reached a deal settling the university's lawsuit over the nickname for their fans.

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. Neither side admitted any fault or liability.

The Aggies hold a federal trademark rights to "12th Man." They wanted to halt Seattle from using "12th Man" earlier this year.

In February, the university filed a lawsuit in Brazos County over the Seahawks use of the trademark. Days before Seattle faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, a restraining order was issued calling on the Seahawks to halt any usage of "12th Man," or "12th Mania."

Origins of the term "12th man" aren't exactly clear, but the traditions in Seattle and College Station date back decades.

The Aggies trace their use to 1922, when an injury-plagued roster led the team to pull E. King Gill from the stands and suited him up to play. Gill never took to the field, but the legend strengthened campus-wide commitment to support the team. The words "Home of 12th Man" adorn the stadium and the entire school is considered the 12th Man.

The Seahawks retired the number 12 in 1984 to honor fans who made the old Kingdome one of the noisiest stadiums in football. It hangs alongside Hall of Fame receiver Steve Largent's No. 80.

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