I don’t follow Cardinal football, but I do know a few things about the program: Jim Harbaugh was probably a horrible person when he coached in Palo Alto, Doug Baldwin and Richard Sherman both played for him there, the team mascot is a tree, and the school has a rivalry of some sort with USC.
In other words, basically everything I know about the Stanford football team either dates from my one visit to the school, or can be credited to my following the Seahawks.
This post focuses mainly on Stanford’s rivalry with the USC Trojans, which I’m definitely not making up, regardless of whether you measure the rivalry in terms of longevity —
a rivalry between the Pac-12’s private California schools that dates back to 1905
– USC, Stanford ready to renew rivalry, AP 9.15.2012
— or in terms of recent animosity:
Stanford-USC has provided us with some of the most entertaining football — not just college football, but football — over the past half-decade.
– Stanford, USC have recent history of havoc, ESPN 9.13.2012
So it was that I came across something peculiar while watching the latest installment of former Cardinal Doug Baldwin’s Fresh Files. He is training over the offseason at the practice facilities of his alma mater, and decided to interview former teammate Jonathan Martin inside the Cardinal locker room:
It’s hard to miss the Stanford S over his right shoulder (your left), but check out what’s written right above Jonathan Martin’s left ear (your right): “Trojan.”
*cue ominous music*
About two seconds of using the google revealed this to be the locker of Stanford backup wide receiver Jeff Trojan. While Trojan seems like a nice guy on Twitter (on Feb 6, he even RTed a Seahawk!), it’s sort of understandable that he’s seen no game action in three years for the Cardinal — the head coach just doesn’t trust him.
I was, of course, curious to see whether Stanford had returned the favor — which is sort of why this post exists.
I started out willing to cast a very wide net, so I pretended “Cardinal” was “Cardinals” — because even the Saudis and Sudanese know birds make the best spies — and managed to turn up a whole flock of potential flying moles on the team’s roster: Su’a Cravens, Silas Redd and Chris Hawkins, Marcus Martin, and Demetrius Wright. This list would probably be longer if I knew more kinds of birds. I even concocted a whole narrative centered on WR Coach Tee Martin as the turncoat who planted WR Trojan on the Cardinal’s roster in the first place.
But then I realized, by focusing on the team’s official name, I’d been barking up the wrong tree (pun intended) this whole time — USC’s roster, is in, fact stacked (like wood) with players whose names allude to the Cardinal’s mascot (if you didn’t figure it out by now, it* is a ridiculous tree): QB Max Browne, S Gerald Bowman, CB Anthony Brown, PK Alex Wood, and DT Antwuan Woods. In other words, if the Cardinal did construct a Trojan Horse, it’s no mystery where they got the raw material: from a tree.
*Yes, I am aware the tree is actually the band’s mascot.