Much ballyhoo is blowing around the college football land due to the blowhards up north in the Big 10. It seems they want to expand their television footprint or whatever it is. Part of their master plan includes penetrating the much valued market in New York. How will they do this? By going after a low hanging fruit by the name of Rutgers. So in honor of one of the teams that is part of the speculationalooza, we’ll be taking a look at Rutgers mascot, the Scarlet Knight.
“The Birthplace of College Football.” You may have heard that thrown around a a couple of times in your life. The first ever intercollegiate football game took place on November 6, 1869 when Rutgers beat up on College of New Jersey 6 runs to 4. They shared a title with the College fo New Jersey (later known as Princeton) that year and they haven’t had the much more success since. They chose scarlet to wear, thanks to their newspaper The Daily Targum. They also called themselves the “Queensmen” in honor the school’s first name, Queen’s College.
In 1925, the mascot was changed to the Chanticleer, in reference to the fighting rooster from Reynard the Fox. The school mascot was the ire of so many chicken jokes that they changed it to the Scarlet Knight in 1955, after a campus wide election. This led to a full suited knight storming the field on hours all the way through the 1980s. In 1983, a costumed cartoon representation of the Scarlet Knight took over the reigns, although we’re sure the horse-drawn knight showed back up after the football program came back the last couple of years.
Let’s take a look at the horse-drawn fella. Scarlet is the color from head to toe to hoof. The red color looks way better on the armor than it does on the horse. We get know why they went with knights as a call out to the Reynard the Fox story. Even though the black and scarlet feather adorns to the top of this dude, he still looks pretty damn menacing. Whereas other horse ridden mascots put the fear in the weapons, the Scarlet Knight puts the fear in his regal armor. They massive sword does help, though.
Now let’s turn to the costumed Scarlet Knight. The horse and sword is gone and replaced with tennis shoes and a big cartoon head. Being a playful mascot, this type needs to be more flexible. Because of that, there is no metal on this dude. The sleeves and legs are now silver-colored fabric. The dress dons the ‘R’ and scarlet color. Now his head is huge. At least for the cartoony costume, the grimace is mean.
The Scarlet Knight costume fits all the needs but just does not compare to the glory and might of the horse-drawn Scarlet Knight. The tradition screams much more when we see the Scarlet Knight ride and with a faceless stare not unlike Darth Vader or the Black Knight from Monty Python’s Holy Grail. Now whether Rutgers jumps ship from the Big East to the Big 10 or not, we’re sure that they will continue to ride their tradition on into the sunset. Hopefully The Scarlet Knight will run over the costumed counterpart in the mean time.