While Texas A&M is known as the “Home of the 12th Man,” it appears as if the term “12th Man” (as a reference to a team’s fan base, student section, or alumni) has been used prior to the famous 1922 Dixie Classic.
In a 1912 issue of “The Iowa Alumnus,” E.A. McGowan (captain on the 1905 Iowa team), recalls the 1903 Iowa victory over Illinois. You will notice that he gave credit to the “twelfth man on the team (the loyal spirited Iowa rooter)” for the victory.
The Iowa Alumnus
Volume X, November, 1912, Number 2
THE TWELFTH PLAYER
By EA McGowan, Captain 1905
Apparently, Seminole fans were not happy with the new uniforms that FSU wore on August 30 during their season opener against Oklahoma State. While negative fan reaction to a change in “tradition” is nothing new, what is refreshing is that the administration at FSU is apparently working to get things fixed.
Less than one week after Florida State’s new football uniforms debuted with a thud in the Seminoles’ season opener at Dallas, the university’s athletics department announced on Friday that it was taking the redesign back to the drawing board.
“Saturday night at AT&T Stadium was the first opportunity we had to see the color of our helmets and facemasks under stadium and broadcast television lights,” FSU stated in a press release. “The shades of both the Garnet facemasks and the Gold of our football helmets did not accurately represent those of our tradition-rich past.”
The sad thing about this story is that this is actual news. In my experience, when a change in tradition gets rejected by a fan base, the school making the change spends more time trying to convince the fan base that they need to accept the change as inevitable (as opposed to correcting it). So, the fact that FSU is willing to start over with their uniform design, in order to get it right, is very refreshing.
On the other hand, before I give FSU too much credit, I should point out that they have yet to correct their new logo amidst plenty of negative fan reaction. While they seem to be handling the uniform correctly, they are apparently sticking with the new logo despite the fan base’s lack of approval.
By now I am sure you have heard that there is a bill in the Texas Legislature that will require Texas A&M and the University of Texas to renew and continue their annual football rivalry. As of right now, the bill has only been submitted/introduced. Only time will tell if this particular bill has any “legs” or whether it will “die on the table.”
If you poll the online internet Aggie community, it appears as if a large majority of Aggies are not in favor of this bill. After reading a few conversation threads on TexAgs.com, it appears as if there are a lot of Aggies that either (1) don’t want to play the Longhorns anymore, and/or (2) feel that the only way the two schools should play is if the Longhorns are the ones who request the game.
Personally, I am of the opinion that the game should be played. The annual rivalry game between the two schools is an important ingredient in the tradition of college football and everyone suffers from its loss.