Last night was an exciting moment for college football fans, as the 2015 season came to a head with a rousing victory for the University of Alabama®. With their 45-40 victory over the #1-ranked Clemson Tigers®, the Crimson Tide® claimed their 16th National Championship — and their 4th in the last 7 years.
Whether you watched at home or were in the stands at University of Phoenix Stadium, one thing is for sure: it was an action-packed display of talent, athleticism and grit from some of the best young football players in the country. In other words, it was the kind of game college football fans live for.
To celebrate the National Champions and a thrilling college football season, here are 14 fun facts about the Crimson Tide to share with your friends.
1. Their new trophy measures 26-1/2 inches tall (three feet when resting in its base), weighs 23 pounds, and is handcrafted from 24K gold, stainless steel and bronze.
2. Their roster for the championship semifinals featured 29 graduates, including three players who have earned their master’s degree — a national and school record.
3. This was their fourth championship under head coach Nick Saban. The only other head coach with more championships was the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant, who led the Tide to six national championships from 1958-1982.
4. Coach “Bear” Bryant got his nickname after accepting a challenge to wrestle a bear — for a dollar per minute — at a carnival sideshow when he was 13. He was never paid; the circus promoter fled before paying him.
5. Despite their storied history, Alabama has only two Heisman Trophy winners: Mark Ingram, currently plays for the New Orleans Saints, was the first to win it in 2009, and running back Derrick Henry became the second in 2015.
6. They have had 11 undefeated seasons, 9 of which were perfect (tieless) seasons.
7. Alabama alumni include “Broadway Joe” Namath, 2005 NFL MVP Shaun Alexander, and actor Jim Nabors, who played as Gomer Pyle on the Andy Griffith Show.
8. The team’s first football game took place in 1892 against a team of students selected from local high schools. Not surprisingly, the college team routed the high school team 56-0.
9. The team mascot, an elephant named “Big Al,” harkens back to a news article from 1930. A journalist covering a game against Ole Miss reported on the rumbling sound of the Alabama players stamping onto the field, writing that a fan in the stands called out, “…the elephants are coming.”
10. The nationally recognized “Million Dollar Band” got its nickname in 1922 after a 33-7 loss. A reporter asked Alabama alumnus W.C. “Champs” Pickens, “You don’t have much of a team, what do you have at Alabama?” Pickens replied, “A Million Dollar Band.” Today, the marching band is one of the most famous in the country and has appeared on television more than any other college band.
11. Alabama fans often wear houndstooth-patterned clothing to games. The tradition is a tribute to Coach “Bear” Bryant’s trademark houndstooth hat, given to him in 1965 by New York Jets owner Sonny Werblin.
12. Before each home game, coach Nick Saban and his players are dropped off at the “Walk of Champions,” a pathway lined by cheering fans who offer high fives as the team makes its way to the locker room.
13. Alabama fans have a tradition of singing “Rammer Jammer” to celebrate a victory. As soon as the clock runs out in the fourth quarter, the entire stadium bursts into song.
14. Alabama’s football team was originally referred to as the “Crimson White,” after the school colors. The term “Crimson Tide” was coined by sports editor Hugh Roberts during a 1907 match against Auburn. Playing valiantly in a sea of red mud, Alabama held the heavily-favored Auburn team to a 6-6 tie.
Do you know any other surprising or interesting facts about the Alabama Crimson Tide? Share them in the comments below! And be sure to head over to our site to score college sports collectibles, including officially licensed Alabama Crimson Tide collectibles, jewelry and apparel.14 Things You Didn't Know About the Alabama Crimson Tide® by Ann Kelley