We all know elephants are not indigenous to the North American continent, so a few of us may find it odd that an elephant serves as the mascot for the University of Alabama’s football team. Nevertheless, a student in a large elephant costume with innocent-looking eyes shows off his stuff at every ‘Bama’ home game, becoming a fixture at one of the state’s proudest institutions. So what gives?


The Elephants and University of Alabama Football

Alabama’s elephant mascot and its relationship with Crimson Tide football is a known topic among fans and even among rival outsiders.

It all started with an Alabama-Ole Miss football game in October 1930 when an Atlanta sports reporters description of the impressive size and ability of the Crimson Tide, along with the crowd’s reaction, changed everything. It is when he described how the excited fans in the stands bellowed, ‘Hold your horses, the elephants are coming,’ and out stamped this Alabama varsity.”

Alabama’s Crimson Tide A.K. A. Red Elephants

Originally, the nickname of the team was the Red Elephants. This is the reason why you see the elephant mascot, “Big Al” in every sideline of an Alabama game. Alabama was an underdog in the season where the nickname was coined. Previously undefeated and heavy favorite Washington was everyone’s pick for the 1925 Rose Bowl. But when the dust finally settled an LA Times Sports writer wrote that Washington was washed away “by a powerful crimson tide.”



Soon after, other reporters began referring to Alabama’s crimson-clad team as the “Red Elephants”. During the 1979 season, after a little pleading with Coach Bear Bryant to jump on board with an on-field mascot, Big Al made his first appearance alongside the Crimson Tide.


And the rest is history.


Roll Tide Roll!!!