The True Home of the 12th Man, Kyle Field - Texas A&M


Kyle Field - now a $480 million renovation - is the original home of the 12th man moniker. You know that cringy 12th man, 19th man, or 16th man advertising campaign every uninspired marketing department comes up with. Yeh, that one. However, in College Station - Texas, home to the Texas A&M Aggies, the 12th man is no gimmick, rather a way of life.



Obsessed, over 100 000 Aggie fans flock to Kyle Field eight times each fall to watch their beloved Fighting Texas Aggie Football team. When it comes to college football, the term 'game day' should be taken literally. It is a whole day experience. Having spent three years at Texas A&M, I’ve had my fair share of experiences. Today, I’ll tell you about my first trip to the newly renovated stadium in 2016. My first game since 2009, an early ending to another failed Olympic campaign meant time and money to spare. Texas A&M would open their 2016 season at home, against UCLA. Perfect.


Starting with an early morning jog to get some stadium shots without a crowd, I was reminded of why Texas A&M is such a special school. Tailgating - an American institution - is an essential part of your college football experience. At Texas A&M, Aggies will frequently invite opposing team fans to their tailgates. On this occasion, minding my own business taking a few photos, an Aggie named Jess offered me an early beer as he enquired why I was out so early by myself on game day. Two red cups beers later and he had invited me back to their tailgate later in the day.



Beers flow all Saturday on a home day. Catching up with an old teammate, we sampled some new establishments. Watching the 11am games around the nation, we crossed paths with an already inebriated masters student keen to flash the fact he had money. Three shots later and I was starting to worry I might not survive our 4-5 hour game in the 35 degrees celsius sauna. You can imagine just how tough some of the frat lads find watching games!


Our tailgate host was stoked to have a few former athletes at his tailgate; along with his new UCLA friends, it was the royalty treatment. Beers and Texas BBQ; Aggies take their tailgates very seriously. Aggie Park sits under the shadows of Kyle Field and is packed hours before the game begins, with fans setting their gear up the day before. Game weekends are a ritual; this is how friends stay connected to their college. People plan their lives around the football schedule, years after they have graduated.


There is a ton of build-up to the game. The home team walks in through the masses outside the stadium, the Corp of Cadets follow, and often the SEC Network or ESPN host their pregame show. I managed to miss all of this; having way too much fun with new and old friends. It was a shame to leave them so not to miss the entertaining half-hour build-up to kick-off, yet the promise of meeting up on Northgate (aka a row of 20 bars and clubs) was exciting. 


Aggies don’t have cheerleaders - a dance team that looks suspiciously like cheerleaders exist though - they have yell leaders. These lads, dressed in white overalls, are elected from the Corp of Cadets, lead the crowd through a variety of yells. Practiced at Midnight Yell the night before; Aggies take these very seriously. Midnight Yell - where 50,000 fans turn up at midnight the night before a game - is an absolute must-do by the way. You might even get a cheeky pash! song. This swaying - made the old Kyle Field Media box move - which meant the engineers had to account for it during the renovations. Constant roaring is broken by a massive boom as UCLA kick-off. Aggie fans twirling spirit towels create a sight to behold. Being 1 of over 102 000 fans, it’s hard not to be somewhat overwhelmed.




Aggies don’t have cheerleaders - a dance team that looks suspiciously like cheerleaders exists though - they have yell leaders. These lads, dressed in white overalls, are elected from the Corp of Cadets, lead the crowd through a variety of yells. Practiced at Midnight Yell the night before; Aggies take these very seriously. Midnight Yell - where 50,000 fans turn up at midnight the night before a game - is an absolute must-do by the way. You might even get a cheeky pash!


My Aggies dominate most of the game, leading through 3 and a half quarters it looks an easy win. Myles Garrett - soon to be an NFL #1 draft pick - is causing havoc. The 12th man creates so much noise when the Aggies defend; blocking and communication for the offensive line are affected. Josh Rosen - UCLA Quarterback and another future first-rounder - didn’t help his team when suggesting 50,000 and 100,000 fans don’t sound too different. Is he wrong? Probably not, but the Ags are pissed and it’s loud. Incidentally, the talent on display is amazing. Along with Myles Garret, A&M features future NFL star Wideouts Christian Kirk and Josh Reynolds along with Armani Watts at Safety.


Another great military display occurs at half-time. The nationally famous Fightin’ Texas Aggie band - known to break the computer programs used to plan performances - are simply incredible. They turn on a dime, march through gaps you can’t see, and seemingly never make a mistake.



There is a ton of build-up to the game. The home team walks in through the masses outside the stadium, the Corp of Cadets follow, and often the SEC Network or ESPN host their pregame show. I managed to miss all of this; having way too much fun with new and old friends. It was a shame to leave them to get inside so as not to miss the entertaining half-hour build-up to kick-off, yet the promise of meeting up on Northgate (aka a row of 20 bars and clubs) was exciting.  pash! song. This swaying - made the old Kyle Field Media box move - which meant the engineers had to account for it during the renovations. Constant roaring is broken by a massive boom as UCLA kick-off. Aggie fans twirling spirit towels create a sight to behold. Being 1 of over 102 000 fans, it’s hard not to be somewhat overwhelmed.


Trevor Knight - at the time dating Duck Dynasty’s Sadie - scores from the 1-yard line. UCLA must score to keep the game alive. Facing 4th and goal with the game on the line; Texas A&M  gets penetration which forces an under-thrown pass. Erupting, Kyle Field loses it as they see the ball spill-free. Northgate will be rocking tonight.



When the world returns to normality, feel free to get in touch and I can help arrange tickets.




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