COLUMN: Standing tall
The 12th Man is — and will continue to be — a constant presence in Kyle Field
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 21:10
In life, only three things can be certain — death, taxes and a loud 12th Man. Odds are that a very large portion of the student body has experienced it before. The fuzz flying through the air from people waving their towels and people standing in the aisles watching the game because their row has filled up. Even hearing students yell, “Old Army does it twice,” just so they can chant, “Beat the hell out of [someone],” one more time.
Nowadays we have students singing along with Kanye West and his song, “Power,” as it plays over the PA system right before the Aggies come storming out of the tunnel. There are even students bold enough to dance along with Trey Williams as he awaits a kickoff. There is no doubt that the fans at Kyle Field are a breed of their own and they could not be prouder of it.
“I believe the 12th Man is one of the greatest traditions in all of college football,” redshirt sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel said. “40,000 students standing not as fans, but as members of our team.”
Kyle Field has a listed capacity of 82,589. However, attendance for each game tends to hover around the 87,000 mark. That is an extra 4,500 fans cheering and screaming for an Aggie victory. The record attendance at Kyle Field is 90,079, which occurred when the Aggies defeated Nebraska 9-6 on Nov. 20, 2010.
In the words of former running back Christine Michael, “It’s almost like it’s cheating.”
It is hard to find statistics that say just how much fans help a team win a ballgame. But we have all witnessed frustrated coaches yelling at quarterbacks for calling a timeout because he could not hear the play call.
One of the most famous moments came in 1985 when University of Texas quarterback Brett Stafford tried to wait out the 12th Man. They would not be outdone, getting louder as each second ticked off the clock.
We have also seen how energetic our players get when we chant their name and root for a score. There is a reason why our teams are as good as they are,w and with our fans it is almost like cheating.
The 12th Man has received many honors for its dedication to Aggie football. Kyle Field was the highest rated college football stadium in Business Insider’s “Best Venues in Sports.” In 2011, the game day experience at Kyle Field was rated No. 1 in Sports Illustrated’s College Football Preview. This past year, Sports Illustrated rated the home of the Aggies the third-loudest stadium in college football.
“I’d say the first time it really stuck with me with how loud the 12th Man gets was when they were playing Texas and A&M scored a touchdown,” sophomore center Mike Matthews said. “It still gives me chills.”
The Aggies have an all-time home record of 391-156-19 at Kyle Field. That winning percentage sits just under 70 percent. Odds are that the electrifying sound coming from the 12th Man has played an enormous role in the winning tradition of the Aggies throughout the years.
“I love playing for the 12th Man,” senior left tackle Jake Matthews said. “Our fans are the greatest and the atmosphere at Kyle Field is outstanding.”
It is a fact that the 12th Man is unlike any other student section in the country. Many have seen the video clip of College Gameday’s Kirk Herbstreit saying, “This is the best student section in all of college football,” that plays before each game.
Aggies are indeed a breed of their own and Kyle Field is where they reside, standing ready to go in the game when needed.