How the Crimson Tide Got its Name
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 Auburn was a heavy favorite
But, evidently, the "Thin Red Line" played a great game in the red 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.