Any Seattle Seahawks fan who was at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 remembers the moment. Heck, those who were at the neighborhood watering holes can still feel the vibrations.
It was the NFC Wild Card playoff game between the Seahawks and reigning Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. With the Seahawks up 34-30 with under four minutes remaining, Marshawn Lynch had one of the most iconic runs of all time. He shook off nine defenders in total to cap off a 67-yard touchdown run that ultimately sealed the win for the Seahawks.
Then, the ground began shaking.
The play became known as the Beast Quake because the impact of the celebration from Seattle's beloved fans created such a frenzy that it registered on a nearby seismograph. But before die-hard Seahawks fans literally caused an earthquake and set Guinness Book World Records, they donned names like the 12th Man, 12th Fan and 12s.
Have you ever wondered how the devoted and tenacious fans of Seattle acquired their legendary nicknames? Let's dig in.
It all started in 1984 when Seahawks president Mike McCormack announced the team would be officially retiring the No. 12 jersey to honor “the best fans in football.” The gesture marked the first time in sports franchise history a professional sports team retired a jersey in honor of its fans.
Then in 2003, original season ticket holders got the special opportunity to raise the beloved "12" flag prior to kickoff at CenturyLink Field. Today, celebrities, and Seahawks legends mainifest the energy of the franchise and raise the flag with pride.
Even former head coach Mike Holmgren knows the 12th Man hoopla is real. He publicly dedicated the game ball, now known as the 12th Man Ball, to the fans after the Seahawks defeated the New York Giants in overtime in 2005. The Giants committed eleven false starts and missed three field goals thanks to the fans deafening noise and vocal support.
CenturyLink Field was an absolute fortress from 2012-14 as the Seahawks went 26-2 at home during that three-year span.
The 12th Man moniker, however, didn't stick with its teams' success forever. In 2017, Texas A&M won a legal battle to take over the "12th Man" nickname, as the Aggies had been using it since 1922 and owned the trademark since 1990.
Today, Seattle fans are simply known as the "12s," but their legacy remains intact. The fans may not be the Seahawks secret weapon any longer, but that won't stop them from tormenting opposing offenses for years to come.
Listen to the full video at the top, voiced by Seahawks Insider Joe Fann, to hear more on Seahawks fans' iconic nickname.
Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Kevin Calabro.