Back in 2011 you were a nomad, a football fan with allegiances to no team, no players, no logo, no jerseys, nothing. Occasionally, you spent your Sundays watching games with friends, only arriving to cheer on the men in uniform who peppered the fantasy roster you sort of paid attention to. There was Marques Coleman, your wide receiver, and Marian Foster, your running back. You always knew to root against the quarterback of the Cowboys, who shared a name with that restaurant chain, and to show at least a little partiality towards the local club, the Seahawks, since that’s what your buddies did.
But those Seahawks, they weren’t great. They stumbled to a 7-9 finish that year and failed to make the playoffs. Why be a Seahawks fan, you thought, when it was clear the team was no good?
Just one season later, a seismic shift occurred. Seattle’s football team suddenly became relevant again. They were winning ballgames and had rejuvenated the city that claimed them as their own. They had new players with new energy, new attitudes, new everything. Even their snazzy-looking uniforms were new, which somehow led you on a quest to purchase one of those jersey tops they wore, first to Nordstrom, then to Macy’s, then to J.C. Penney, then finally to some place called “Champs” where you were finally able to obtain a shirt with the name of the team’s quarterback on the back – and at thirty-percent off, no less! FLYNN, it read. Pat Flynn, quarterback.
You wore the crap out of that Pat Flynn jersey, suddenly taking a keen, vested interest in the play of your boys on the field. You yelled emphatically every time they scored, skewered the referees every time a call went against your beloved Hawks – “False start! What the hell is that, ref?! Come on! No, but seriously … what the hell is a false start?” – and began to enjoy surrounding yourself with fellow fanatics. Your conglomerate of supporters even had its own name: the 12s.
Seemingly overnight, you became a 12. It meant you were like the 12th man on the field, or something, which wasn’t supposed to be legal, per your understanding of the guidelines. If being a 12 meant bending the rules, though, you were all-in. No longer were you a wayward soul relegated to cheering on the likes of Rodney White, Darrell McFadden, or Rob Bukowski. You now hung your hat on the names of your favorite Seahawks: Earl Thompson, Richard Sherwin, and the Beast Mode guy.
If 2012 was your appetizer, 2013 was the entrée to top all entrees. After one long season of suffering, you finally took home that coveted Longbardi Trophy – I mean, the Seahawks actually won it, but it was kind of like you won it because, you know, you were on the field in spirit, per your interpretation of the rules. You were so excited to be a part of this success that you pledged to go to a few games in 2014.
A few months later, single-game tickets went on sale. At 10:01 a.m. on July 21st, you booted up your computer, went to Seahawks.com, and attempted to buy a pair of seats for the home opener against Green Bay. But your internet was kinda slow as soon as you hit the website – “What the shit? Don’t do this to me now, AOL!” – and you missed out on purchasing tickets for that game.
Undeterred, you moved onto the next game, against Denver. But those tickets were sold out, too! So you tried yet another contest, versus San Francisco. Foiled again! And then suddenly you were notified that tickets were completely sold out. It was 10:16 a.m. What…the…fuck.
It wasn’t fair! You had been a diehard fan of this team for TWO WHOLE YEARS! And in that time you had given your all to the organization, even taking the time to post lively messages in the online comments section of every single article written about the Seahawks over the past 24 months. You were @12Foreverandeverandever on Twitter! You made a replica Super Bowl ring out of Reynolds Wrap! You quit your job at Wal-Mart to become a part-time football blogger! YOU WERE THE TWELVEST OF ALL TWELVES!
It wasn’t fair. You may not have been able to score tickets to a game this season, or name more than five players on the squad, or be able to pick Mike Holmgren out of a lineup, or remember Walter Jones, or claim to have witnessed a Stan Gelbaugh interception, but damn it, you deserved better. Here at Seattle Sportsnet, we want to give you that which you deserve. That’s why we’re introducing the #12since12 movement. Consider it a badge of honor to attach to your Twitter updates or include in your Facebook statuses. Throw it on your profile and wear it with pride. You’ve been a 12 for a while now – since 2012, in fact – and you need an emblem to call that out.
Life isn’t always fair. But at least you’ll have a hashtag to help you get over whatever it is you need to get over. You’re a #12since12 now. In the words of esteemed fictional character Brad Hamilton, “Learn it, know it, live it.”