It was 36 years ago today (December 15) that the Seattle Seahawks became the first-ever franchise in professional sports to retire a jersey number in honor of their fan base.

Before their final game of the season, a 31-14 loss to then AFC West division rival Denver Broncos, the Hawks held a ceremony on field announcing that no player in the future would ever don the #12. It was a tribute to a fanbase that, in less than 10 seasons in the National Football League, had come to be known as the loudest. So much so that the NFL, for a time, even had to change the rules! For a time, the HOME team would get penalized if the opponent couldn't hear the quarterback's signals over the din! The league soon realized what a stupid move it was as it, literally, DISCOURAGED fans from being boisterous.

Hawks fans were once recorded creating an actual seismic event -- a.k.a. the "Beastquake" -- because of their raucousness.

You can click HERE to see a short video of the ceremony.

It always ticks me off when I hear other fans criticize the "bandwagon" Seahawks fans. Seattle has ALWAYS been true to the Hawks even in the leanest of lean (2-14!) seasons. Just because others didn't ever take notice until the Seahawks finally became perennial winners doesn't mean that the fans didn't sell out the Kingdome every Sunday and make it one of the most difficult places to play! This is proof!

Another sticking point for me is that Texas A&M once sued Seattle for "stealing" their 12th Man trademark. Not true! The Seahawks never mention the 12th "man". They simply retired the #12 in honor of the fans - PLURAL! Even the flag that gets hoisted before the kickoff of every home game simply displays the number "12" without any reference to a man or singular entity.

The last active player to ever sport the #12 jersey was former Quarterback Sam Adkins. The Hawks have since added four more numbers to the list which will never be worn in a game again. All of them, by the way, have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. They are:

#80 - Wide Receiver Steve Largent (Largent did give Jerry Rice permission to wear it, however, during his brief stint in Seattle)
# 71 - Left Tackle Walter Jones
#96 - Defensive End Cortez Kennedy
#45 - Safety Kenny Easley

While Lumen (formerly CenturyLink) Field isn't quite the same this year without the vocalization of support by the 12s, the Hawks have always shown the love back to their true blue fans!

Go Hawks!

12s - Seahawks Fans