Why the Tide?

From the 2007 Alabama Football Media Guide:

In early newspaper accounts of Alabama football, the team was simply listed as the “varsity” or the “Crimson White” after the school colors. The first nickname to become popular and used by headline writers was the “Thin Red Line.” The nickname was used until 1906. The name “Crimson Tide” is supposed to have first been used by Hugh Roberts, former sports editor of the Birmingham Age-Herald. He used “Crimson Tide” in describing an Alabama-Auburn game played in Birmingham in 1907, the last football contest between the two schools until 1948 when the series was resumed. The game was played in a sea of mud and held Auburn to a 6-6 tie, thus gaining the name “Crimson Tide.” Zipp Newman, former sports editor of the Birmingham News, probably popularized the name more than any other writer.

I asked Karl to explain to me why Bama’s mascot is an elephant. He said that when Wallace Wade was Alabama’s coach (circa 1925), the team had such depth that he started every game (even the Rose Bowl in 1926) that year with the second string. He didn’t put the first string players in until the second quarter. One media person, at the beginning of the second quarter, is quoted as writing/saying, “Here come the elephants,” because the first string was so much larger than the second string. It’s not that the second string couldn’t have handled the game. Karl explained that Wade would send in the first string to ensure a complete demoralization of their opponent.

So there you have it. The mascot is an elephant, affectionately called, “Big Al.” We are called The Crimson Tide or Alabama/Bama. And we cheer, “Roll Tide Roll.”

Words to the fight song, “Yea, Alabama!”

Yea, Alabama!
Drown ’em, Tide!
Every Bama man’s behind you,
Hit your stride!
Go teach the Bulldogs to behave.
Send the Yellow Jackets to a watery grave.
And if a man starts to weaken,
That’s a shame.
For Bama’s pluck and grit have writ
Her name in Crimson flame.
Fight on! Fight on! Fight on, men!
Remember the Rose Bowl–we’ll win then!
So, Roll on to victory!
Hit your stride!
You’re Dixie’s football pride,
Crimson Tide!
Roll Tide! Roll Tide!

As if you haven’t had enough already, I found a YouTube video. Listen to it performed by the Million-Dollar Band on a game day at Bryant-Denny Stadium:

8 Comments on “Why the Tide?

  1. Okay, that explains it all. Still doesn’t explain football, but I guess you have to live in the States or something. People up here are the same about hockey. I’m the same about….ahem….chocolate. :-)Thanks for the explanation. Roll Tide? 🙂


  2. I grew up an Alabama fan, being the daughter of an alum and all. However, I have married a one hundred percent purebred Auburn man and now, I just want everyone to be happy. Rather than being one or the other, I say I’m non-denominational.


  3. Non-denominational, that’s funny. Carrying the religion metaphor further: I call your marriage “unequally yoked.” And now you’re lukewarm…I spit you out of my mouth! 😉 Just kidding. I bet you’ve heard comments like that a lot over the years.


  4. we have a friend who is a serious bama fan…he drives from NC to AL for every home game! Devoted!


  5. non-denominational – just love it! i guess i could be classified as devout. ;)great explanation about your team! very cool to read… now off to watch the you tube video…


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