SEATTLE, Wash. -- Can you have a "12th Man" without the "man" part?
As the Seahawks gear up for Saturday's big game, the team and the fans may have to start thinking of alternatives.
Although fans may feel they own the "12th Man" motto as a symbol of their presence on the field, the term "12th Man" is really rented, not owned.
The real owner, at least according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is Texas A&M University.
Texas A&M filed trademark claims to the term in 1989, claiming the university has used the phrase and logo since the early 1920's.
In 2006, the Seahawks and Texas A&M settled a lawsuit allowing Seattle to use the slogan for $100,000 plus a "rental" fee of $5,000 per year.
The deal is up in 2016.
According to the deal, the Seahawks can use the number "12" after the agreement expires, although it can't use the phrase "12th Man" any longer unless there's a new agreement.
A spokeswoman for the Seahawks has not responded to questions about how the team may move forward.