Why is it the Stanford Cardinal and not the Stanford Cardinals?

In each and every football season there is something that drives me crazy. Seriously, this really bothers me.

When Notre Dame plays Stanford, I have to hear the announcers tell me that the Stanford Cardinal took the field. There are eleven players in any offensive unit, not just one player. Cardinal is singular. Cardinals is plural. Wouldn’t Cardinals make more sense in describing a unit of 11 individuals making their way onto the field?

I just do not get it. It literally drives me crazy every time I hear it. Was it the whole team that took the field or just one of them? And if so, which one?

Fortunately, gives me a little idea why this is so. It still doesn’t make sense to me, but I’ll let you decide.

In 1892, after a great victory over Cal, Stanford adopted cardinal as its main color. Until 1972 they were known as the Indians. At that time a group of Indian students took a request to change their name as the current one was offensive to them.

The University listened and from 1972 to 1981 its official name was Cardinals.

The name was apparently never a reference to the bird just to color.

In 1981, the then present Stanford, who was overthinking the subject, declared that from then on he would be called the Stanford Cardinal in a singular way.

Why is this necessary? I think if I were a sportscaster assigned to cover one of their games, I would have to take a position. I would let the powers of the being know that it will be my intention that when I refer to a person on the team, in fact, I will refer to him as a Cardinal, but when I refer to a group of players I will refer to them as the Cardinals. Just doing the opposite is silly and obviously I don’t have time for a lot of nonsense.

Each adult must adhere to his own personal belief system or his life will be without honor.

Unfortunately, this investigation led me to another big problem with the Stanford team name and mascot.

They don’t have a pet. Why not?

Sometimes your logo will have a tree in the middle. Other times it’s just a big “S”. The Stanford Tree is actually a member of the band who is disguised as, well, what else, a tree. This tree is actually based on a particular tree that has a name, El Palo Alto, which is a redwood in Palo Alto.

Although many people consider the “tree” their pet, it is not officially their pet.

Stanford is a highly respected university and you have to be smart to attend. You would think that a group of very intelligent people would not have so much trouble naming their sports team or choosing a mascot.

Maybe now I think differently.

I think using a tree would be a good thing if you have an exceptionally tough defense and want to emphasize its immobility.

It doesn’t work that well on the offensive side of things. To say that the running back was as fast as a tree, or that a wide receiver went across the field like a tree, just doesn’t sound right.

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