The Story

Before he became the first 12th Man, an Aggie by the name of E. King Gill was simply a squad player for the University’s football team. On the second of January, 1922, as the heavily outgunned Aggies were facing the top-ranked Centre College Praying Colonels on the gridiron, Gill was up in the press box helping reporters identify players on the field below.

And what was happening on the field wasn’t pretty. The Aggies found themselves plagued by injuries, with their reserves seemingly dwindling with every play.

As Aggie Coach Dana X. Bible looked across his rapidly emptying bench, he remembered Gill’s presence in the stands. Bible waved Gill down to the sideline and told him to suit up. Gill ran under the bleachers and put on the uniform of injured running back Heine Weir, who had been knocked out of the game in the first quarter.

Gill returned to the sideline, where he stood at the ready for the entirety of the game. When the last play was run, the Aggies found that they had pulled off one of the greatest upsets in college football, winning the game 22-14. And Gill remained standing, the only player left on the team’s bench.

"I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I did not. I simply stood by in case my team needed me."
 - E. King Gill, Aggie Class of 1924

Today that spirit lives on at Kyle Field, with the entire student body standing throughout the game as a united 12th Man ready to be called in at a moment’s notice. The team itself also honors the tradition, with the #12 jersey being awarded to players who best embody the grit, determination and selflessness of the 12th Man.

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The Original

While the tradition of the 12th Man at Texas A&M dates back more than nine decades, recent years have seen many organizations – sports teams and otherwise – co-opt the phrase.

Since 2006, the Seattle Seahawks have been allowed to use the “12th Man” under a licensing agreement with the University. That agreement, which places limits on how and where the Seahawks organization can use the language, was renewed in 2011 for a five-year term.

However, hundreds of other entities, from professional sports teams to consumer goods manufacturers, have used the “12th Man” phrase without the University’s consent in recent years. Texas A&M has responded vigorously by seeking to protect the “12th Man” and other trademarks, filing more than 460 cease-and-desist orders in 2012 and 2013 alone.

Yes, there seem to be a lot of 12th Men out there. But as any true sports fan knows, there is only that can be called the original.

"The 12th Man is the Texas A&M Aggies." - Red Bryant, former Aggie defensive end and current Seattle Seahawk

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The Spirit

Since that most historic football game nearly a century ago, the spirit of the 12th Man has been embraced by Aggie students, faculty and alumni alike.

The 12th Man at Kyle Field

Known collectively as the 12th Man, the Aggie student body stands at the ready for the entirety of every football game at Kyle Field.

Midnight Yell

Thousands of Aggies gather at midnight before each big game to pump up the 12th Man with old army yells, the school fight song and colorful predictions of the forthcoming Aggie victory.

Boot Line

Following the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band’s departure from Kyle Field at halftime, senior members of the 12th Man give the team a rousing welcome back to the gridiron.

The Big Event

The largest single-day, student-administered service project in the United States, the Big Event sees Aggie volunteers selflessly donating their skills at some 1,500 projects across the Bryan/College Station community.


Because Aggies stand together as the 12th Man and as a family, they believe that no one should ever feel like a stranger. So no matter where you walk on campus, you’ll be greeted with a friendly “Howdy!” at every step along the way.

Memorial Student Center

The MSC serves as a “home away from home” for current and former students, and as a living memorial honoring Aggies who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

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The Home

A man’s home is his castle. And the 12th Man’s castle is Kyle Field, one of the most storied and intimidating stadiums in collegiate sports.

During every Aggie home game, more than XX,XXX students pack the East side of the stadium and stand from kickoff through the final whistle to show solidarity with their classmates on the field.

Together, this signing, swaying, cheering mass is the 12th Man. A student body committed to supporting its team and a vociferous force that wreaks havoc with opposing play calls.

Since the first games were played on Kyle Field nearly 90 years ago, that gridiron has been the place of many storied Aggie victories, a few heartbreaking defeats and astounding athletic achievements. And through them all, the 12th Man has stood proud and always at the ready.

Today, Kyle Field is undergoing what is perhaps the most extensive renovation of a college athletic facility in American history.

When complete in 2015, this $450 million renovation will increase the stadium’s capacity from 82,600 seats to 102,500 seats and deliver an array of improvements in services, facilities and technology – ensuring the Home of the 12th Man remains on a solid foundation for decades to come.

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