Tag Archive | 12th man

Sports Numbers You Need to Know

Simply the best.

Simply the best.

So in honor of Derek Jeter’s historic sendoff last night, I thought I would compile a quick list of these sports stats and numbers you often hear in bar conversations, on Sports Center, and even in rap songs (scroll to :46 for a Jay-Z reference to #5).

So here is a baker’s dozen (and just a FEW–bear with me, I’m writing this on a coaster), so please feel free to comment with other biggies.

I’m listing the numbers first for a little quiz fun, then scroll down for the answers.

Let’s go!

1 — 2

2 — 12th Man

3 — 60 feet, 6 inches

4 — 23

5 — Game 6

6 — 42

7 — 17-0

8 — 158.3

9 — 100

10 — 99

11 — 2,131

12 — 18

13 — Oh let’s go for the baker’s dozen: 1,098. Now you may scroll….


1 — Derek “Captain” Jeter, Yankees shortstop for 20 years, retiring after 2014.

2 — Slogan (with a super cool history) of Texas A&M and Seattle football (and a host of others), meaning the crowd’s noise and support as the additional team member to the 11 on the field.

3 — Distance from professional pitcher mound to home plate.

4 — Michael Jordan’s jersey number.

5 — Famous 1998 NBA Finals game between the Bulls and the Jazz; Bulls won 87–86, their sixth NBA Championship in eight years. It was also the final game with the Bulls for Jordan and coach Phil Jackson. It earned the highest TV ratings of an NBA game of all time. Jordan hit a jump shot with 5.6 seconds left to put the Bulls on top for good 87–86.

6 — Jackie Robinson’s jersey number – first African-American to play in Major League baseball.

7 — Final 1972 record of the Miami Dolphins, still the only fully undefeated NFL season.

8 — A “perfect” passer rating for a quarterback’s game. Stat is calculated using a player’s passing attempts, completions, yards, TDs and interceptions. NFL rates QBs from 0 to 158.3. College football uses a different formula and ranks from -731.6 to 1261.6. (Shrug.)

9 — Number of points Wilt Chamberlain scored in a single game in an NBA win over the Philadelphia Warriors, 169-147, on March 2, 1962. (Another key number: 20,000, the number of women he claims to have bedded.)

10 — Wayne Gretzky’s jersey number, the first ever to be retired league-wide by the NHL.

11 — Number of consecutive games played by the Oriole’s Cal Ripken to surpass Lou Gehrig’s 56-year-old record (2,130).

12 — Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 career major championships.

13 — Number of all-time wins by Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, before retiring in 2012 due to dementia. She is the only coach in NCAA history, and one of three college coaches overall, with at least 1,000 victories.


WORD UP! The History of “The 12th Man” (or Why Seattle Can Thank My Alma Mater for This One)

From time to time, it’s fun to dig into sports terms and rules. This week: The 12th Man.

Even the Space Needle gets into the game.

Even the Space Needle gets into the game.

If you’re not familiar with The 12th Man, you’ll hear this term a lot this weekend in reference to Seattle Seahawks fans and the NFC Championship against San Francisco. It’s fairly simple: Because there are 11 players on the field at a time in football, loud, excited fans are referred to as the “12th Man” – that extra helping hand to push the ball into the end zone, or hold the defensive line.

The first recorded use of “12th Man” was in a 1912 edition of the University of Iowa alumni newsletter. But it was Texas A&M who embraced it in the 20s, when the team was struggling against DEFENDING NATIONAL CHAMPIONS CENTRE COLLEGE (where yours truly happened to attend). The Aggies had so many injuries, the coach sent for a cadet, E. King Gill, who had traveled just to watch the game. The coach had Gill, who had tried out for football but did not made the team, suit up, just in case he was needed. He wasn’t, and A&M won 22-14. Gill reportedly said, “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.” His team spirit was celebrated as “The 12th Man,” and it became A&M’s mantra to this day.

Seattle began using the term in the early 2000s because their CenturyLink Field is so loud, the other team can’t hear themselves. As a student unfortunate enough to suffer Seattle grunge as the landmark music movement during college, I loved a recent demonstration of a Fox reporter comparing a decibel gauge at both a nearby grunge show, and a Seahawks game—the game won by a mile. Reportedly, the stadium noise level created a small earthquake during last week’s defeat of New Orleans.

Each Seattle game, a “12” flag is raised, a giant “12” banner is passed around the stands, and thousands of fans are loud and proud (maybe a little too loud—Texas A&M trademarked the 12th Man phrase and sued the Seahawks a decade ago, but they reached a licensing agreement).

Something must be working—the Seahawks have won six straight home playoff games. Word. Up.