Blog Entry

Texas A&M going after the Denver Broncos

Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:40 am
Edited on: January 9, 2012 12:09 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Sunday the Denver Broncos, and Tim Tebow in particular, were blowing the minds of football fans across the country while beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the NFL playoffs. It was pretty much a wonderful day to be a Broncos fan, but it was also a day that may find the team in court soon.

That's because after the Broncos beat the Steelers in overtime there was this tweet from Texas A&M's Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Jason Cook.

Yes, before the game a man parachuted into the stadium waving a flag that said "12th man" and the flag was waved during the game. Which seems completely harmless and pretty much commonplace, but Texas A&M owns the trademark for it and is planning on getting its money.

It's not the first time that the school has gotten involved in something like this, as it filed a lawsuit against the Seattle Seahawks in 2006 for the same thing. Now any Seahawks broadcasts that mention the crowd as "the 12th man" also has to mention Texas A&M's trademark.

Seems pretty stupid, right? Yeah, that's because it is, though there's also an easy solution. Instead of referring to your home crowd as "the 12th man" just start referring to them as "the 12th player." Then Texas A&M will have to find a whole new way to waste everybody's time.

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Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:20 pm

Texas A&M going after the Denver Broncos

If someone copies another company's logo and profits from it, without the company's permission, they are commiting copyright infringment. Its as if I would make tshirts that said hook em horns and sell them in a store as an unliscensed product. It's illegal. You are right about one thing. Doing this would bring the company attention and familiarity, but the company is losing money by letting someone else use their copyrighted logo for merchandise.

So, yes, you can say whatever you want, and you can do whatever you want. But, when you profit from someone else's creation that has been legally copyrighted, you are breaking the law. A company would never ask someone to do advertising for them and use their copyrighted material and expect nothing in return. That is why copyright laws were created; to protect someone's ideas from being copied and taken credit for, falsely.

Since: Mar 5, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:25 pm

Texas A&M going after the Denver Broncos

Stealin and using another comany's logo isnt even in the same ballpark as sayin a catch phrase, other company's would gain familiarity and instantly get atention if they copied a well known logo, ang thus make money off of someone else idea, please tell me how th broncos are gainin anything by using the 12th man, thats ludicrous, and dont say they can sell 12th man merchandise, cause thats idiocy

Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:01 pm

Texas A&M going after the Denver Broncos

I'm surprised that someone in the Bronco's front office didn't see this coming.  Trademarks must be protected or they become worthless.  If a Korean car maker started selling cars in the US with blue ovals or gold bow-ties in the grill, you better believe that Ford or Chevy would file a lawsuit.  Same thing here.  If A&M owns the trademark to "the 12th Man", then you've got to respect that.

And by the way, calling it "the 12th player" isn't going to get you around it.  All A&M has to do is prove that "the 12th player" is a copy of "the 12th man" and they still win the lawsuit.

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:54 pm

Texas A&M going after the Denver Broncos

Lawyers and lawsuits...selling out sanity and freedom for a hive mind in a grayish blah world.

Since: Jul 24, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:46 am


In Canada, the Saskatchewan Roughriders refer to their crowd as The 13th Man.

Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:07 am

Texas A&M going after the Denver Broncos

AND who owns the rights to "THE BIG GAME" then?

Since: Nov 4, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:52 am

Texas A&M going after the Denver Broncos


Since: Mar 5, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:46 am

Texas A&M going after the Denver Broncos

hey Jason.  I was looking for 3 foursomes for a golf trip and we only had 11.  Finally I found the 12th man and thats what we're calling him.  Gonna sue me?

Since: Mar 5, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:42 am

Texas A&M going after the Denver Broncos

Get over urself texas A&M.  Bickering little children over this.  WOW!  This is why our "college" kids are so bright these days.  Its all about ME!

Since: Oct 17, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:36 am

Texas A&M going after the Denver Broncos

The difference is that the Texas A&M 12th man isn't just a reference to its crowd like so many teams reference the 12th man.   Texas A&M literally had a student come out of the stands, put into uniform and ready to play.   That was in a 1922 bowl game and the entire student body stood in support of E. King Gill.   That is where the tradition started and still today the entire student body stands ready to be called to play by the coach.   That is the 12th man.  Not some hokey nickname for a crowd.   At Texas A&M the 12th man actually means something; it’s not a phrase.  So laugh about it being trademarked, that’s fine.  But also understand the 12th man is real at Texas A&M.  Not in Seattle.  Not in Denver.  

That said, there are better ways to address other organizations using it.  I will agree to that.  Posting on twitter seems a bit juvenile, but they did legally trademark it in 1990 and have the right to defend it.  It's no different than Pat Riley trademarking 3-peat back in the 1980s when the Lakers were trying to 3-peat.  He made money off the Bulls and Lakers (2000s) 3-peats.

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