Cardinals Overview

Fast facts

League: NCAA Football

Head Coach: Troy Taylor

Team Mascot: none

Year Opened: 1921

Capacity: 50424

City / State: Stanford / California

Rivalries & Top Games to Attend

The Big Game

Rival Team: California Golden Bears

The Stanford Cardinal have been Cal’s arch rivals since 1892 making it the oldest college football rivalry in the West. The rivalry had produced many memorable moments over the years with the most famous coming in 1982 when the Cardinal band entered the field with time left to play as Cal returned the game-winning touchdown. Stanford holds the all-time series lead is taking home the Stanford Axe in 60 of the schools’ 117 meetings. If you can make it to only one Stanford game, then The Big Game is the one to see.

Stanford vs Notre Dame

Rival Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Stanford and Notre Dame first played in 1925. However, it wasn’t until fairly recently that a strong rivalry emerged between these two institutions. Things heated up in 1989 when The Legends Trophy was added in 1989, and the two schools have met every year since 1997. The Fighting Irish lead the all-time series 19-10. However the Cardinal have won five of the last seven meetings.

Stanford vs USC

Rival Team: USC Trojans

The Stanford - USC rivalry stems from the fact that these two schools are the only two private schools in the Pac-12. The rivalry dates back to 1905. However, the things didn’t kick off until 1919 when the teams began playing annually. Recently both schools have upset each other to prevent possible national championship berths with #21 Stanford taking down #2 USC in 2012, while USC beat #5 Stanford in 2013.

Cardinals Tailgate Guide


Stanford is one of the most beautiful tailgate destinations in all of college football. Here you’ll find tree-lined groves along with manicured laws that make you feel like you’ve died and gone to tailgate heaven. The weather is also great at Stanford as temperatures range from the high 60s to high 70s all throughout the season.

At Stanford, you’ll also find a wide variety of tailgates, which is fantastic for fans as you’ll surely be able to find other fans who you’ll group will fit right in with. There are plenty of family-friendly pregame activities abound for those of you who want to bring the kids along to take in a Stanford football game. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find places to get a bit wilder if that’s what you’re looking for. Many Stanford fans also appreciate a bit fancier tailgating digs as you will often see people using nicer table clothes and stemware on occasion. No matter who or how you like to tailgate you’ll surely have a great time as you prepare yourself to cheer on the Cardinal to victory.


The Walk

The Walk started in the 1920's when the locker room was located in the Encina Gym, currently the Arrillaga Center. Before home games, the Cardinal would walk across campus. Now the walk led by Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) two hours before the game.

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Fan Fest

At Fan Fest you’ll find a whole slew of activities and events that will keep you entertained until kickoff. Here not only can you grab a beer from the beer tent and some grub from the best food trucks in the Bay Area, but you can also take part in a variety of fun pregame activities. It’s the perfect pregame destination for the whole family as these activities will not only entertain adults but children as well.

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Toby the Van

This tricked out tailgate vehicle named after former Stanford running back Toby Gerhart can be found in Lot 2. Here you can join in on the tailgate party for a donation ranging from $10 to $20, which will provide you with all the food and beer you could ever want.

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Big Game Rally

Stanford used to hold a bonfire each year before the The Big Game, however this practice was ended due to the potential destruction of the California Tiger Salamander habitat. Today you can find a Big Game Rally on campus, which features fireworks and very enthusiastic students. If you want to get into the Stanford spirit prior to The Big Game then stop by the rally.

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Another tradition surrounding The Big Game is the funeral for the Cal mascot, Oski, which takes place the Monday before the game. Each year an Oski effigy is impaled on the Claw Fountain in anticipation for The Big Game.

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Where to tailgate

Cardinals Stadium Guide

In Game

When you first step foot in Stanford Stadium, you’ll feel the aura of playing in one of the oldest and most famous stadiums in all of football. You’ll be watching the game in the stadium where all-time greats like John Elway and Andrew Luck played before making it to the NFL, as well as where two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Joe Montana, and Dan Marino, duked it out in Super Bowl XIX. The place oozes with history, so take it all in as you cheer on the Cardinal.

Stanford Stadium’s capacity has been decreased drastically over the years as today it provides a much more intimate experience than in the past. Today’s iteration of the stadium gives you excellent sight lines as it’s clear recent renovations had the fan’s’ viewing experience in mind. The picturesque scenery around the stadium also will enhance your visual experience as the grove of redwoods and the nearby hillside enhance an already excellent atmosphere.

The fans are also critical in providing a great game day experience as they come out strong to support the Cardinal. Everyone dresses in cardinal red for game days, so make sure to dress the part as you’ll want to fit in. Also be sure to not wear Cal colors as you’ll surely be ostracized for doing so. Join in the game day fun by learning the chants and cheers to get the most out of your Stanford game day experience.

Things to check out

Stanford Stadium

Stanford Stadium itself is something every football fan should take in as not only is it one of the oldest college football stadiums in the country, but it is also one of only two college stadiums to have hosted the Super Bowl. Don’t let the new renovations fool you this place is packed with history, so make the trip to Palo Alto to see where some of the greatest players in the game's history have played.

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Stanford Band

The Stanford band is one of the wildest and craziest bands in all of sports. In the past, the band has been reprimanded several times for pulling pranks and has even been banned from other playing fields. When attending a Stanford football game keep your eyes on the band as you never know what crazy stunts they’ll pull next.

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The Stanford Tree

The Stanford Tree is one of the more colorful mascots in all of college sports as it is the official mascot of the Stanford Band rather than the university. The Tree is also the only mascot in all of sports that is rebuilt every year rather than having a fixed costume. Keep your eyes peeled for the Tree as it will surely provide plenty of entertainment throughout the game.

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The Stanford Axe

The Stanford Axe is awarded to the winner of the Big Game, which is played annually between Stanford and Cal. The axe had a long-running history of being stolen back and forth by these two rivals, which eventually led to it becoming a rivalry trophy for the Big Game in 1933. One of the more unique aspects of this trophy is that the score of the 1982 matchup is changed depending on what school holds the trophy as the debate about The Play rages on.

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Nerd Nation

This is the what the legion of Stanford student fans call themselves when supporting their team. The students in the student section show their love and support for the Cardinal by wearing fake nerd glass and nerd nation T-shirts, so if you’re looking to take in a Cardinal game with some of the wildest fans then look no further than the student section.

Fight Songs

  1. All Right Now

    "All Right Now” has become somewhat of a de facto fight song for the Cardinal as it is often played throughout the game. It even has gotten so popular that it has displaced the official fight song at football games.



    There she stood in the street

    smilin’ from her head to her feet;


    I said, “Hey, what is this?

    Now maybe, baby,

    maybe she’s in need of a kiss.”


    I said, “Hey, what’s your name?

    Maybe we can see things the same.


    “Now don’t you wait, or hesitate.

    Let’s move before they raise the parking rate.”


    All right now, baby, it’s a-all right now.

    All right now, baby, it’s a-all right now.


    (Let me tell you now)


    I took her home to my place,

    Watchin’ every move on her face;


    She said, “Look, what’s your game?

    Are you tryin’ to put me to shame?”


    I said “Slow, don’t go so fast,

    don’t you think that love can last?”


    She said, “Love, Lord above,

    now you’re tryin’ to trick me in love.”


    All right now, baby, it’s a-all right now.

    All right now, baby, it’s a-all right now.

  2. Come Join the Band

    Come on Join the Band” has been the official Stanford fight song since 1907, so join in on its singing the next time you attend a Cardinal football game. The song pumps up the fans and is a great way to get in on the Stanford spirit.

    Come join the band,

    And give a cheer for Stanford Red!

    Throughout the land

    Our banner waving overhead.

    Stanford for you,

    Each loyal comrade brave and true,

    With might and main sings this refrain:

    Forever and forever Stanford Red!


    After the game,

    When Stanford Red has won the day,

    Praising her name,

    Onto the field we’ll force our way.

    And on the green,

    Each man who joins the serpentine,

    With might and main sings this refrain:

    Forever and forever Stanford Red!

Cardinals Bars & Restaurants

  1. The Patio


    Bar with big patio serving gourmet burgers & custom wings & hosting weekly events like karaoke.

    412 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  2. NOLA Restaurant & Bar


    Prepare to experience some Cajun ‘con’ Fusion - a fun and eclectic mix of cajun, creole, “southern contemporary” cuisine.

    535 Ramona St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  3. Ray’s Grill

    Rays Grill

    Open-late eatery by campus offering fare from burgers to teriyaki in a loungey space with a deck.

    750 Escondido Rd, Stanford, CA 94305, USA


    Bar website

    mexican - $

  4. Antonio’s Nut House


    Lively venue offering a diverse menu of pub grub, import drafts & cocktails, plus TVs & live music.

    321 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  5. The Dutch Goose

    SpeedZone Tavern Beer Sheridans Irish Pub Beer Kobis Bar & Grill Beer

    Sports bar known for burgers, brews & deviled eggs, with a heated patio, arcade games & 8 TVs.

    3567 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $$

  6. The Old Pro

    Old Prop

    High-energy sports bar known for its Stanford allegiance, happy-hour deals & mechanical bull.

    541 Ramona St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $

  7. Pizza My Heart

    Pizza my Heart

    A family-owned pizza place whose aroma your taste buds will definitely fall in love with!

    220 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA


    Bar website

    pizza - $

  8. Curry Up Now

    Curry Up

    Curry Up Now offering Indian street food, in a fast casual setting with restaurants, food trucks, catering services and Mortar & Pestle bar.

    321 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA


    Bar website

    asian - $$

  9. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

    Flemmings steak

    At Fleming's, a steak is never just a steak.

    180 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA


    Bar website

    american - steakhouse - $$$

  10. Tacolicious


    Branch of an area Mexican chain presents imaginative tacos & margaritas in a hip, relaxed setting.

    632 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA


    Bar website

    mexican - $$

  11. Oren’s Hummus Shop

    Orens Hummus

    Many of their ingredients are imported from Israel to create the same traditional tastes that will transport you to a genuine hummus restaurant in Tel Aviv.

    261 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA


    Bar website

    asian - $$

  12. The REFUGE Menlo Park

    Refuge SC burger

    Cheery gastropub is favored for pastrami sandwiches & other meaty eats chased with Belgian brews.

    66 31st Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  13. Tootsies At the Stanford Barn

    Tootsie barn

    Charming brick building with outdoor seats serving Italian pastries, breakfast, panini & espresso.

    700 Welch Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94305, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  14. Palo Alto Creamery

    Palo Alto Creamery

    Retro-style diner known for its milkshakes, also serving a full menu of classic American fare.

    566 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA


    Bar website

    american - cafe - $$

  15. Kirk’s SteakBurgers

    Kirks SteakBurgers

    An area fast-food veteran turning out fresh-ground, grilled-to-order burgers with steak fries.

    855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA


    Bar website

    american - bbq - $

  16. Evvia Estiatorio


    Evvia Estiatorio brings the warmth and charm of Greece to Silicon Valley. From the moment you enter our restaurant, the Hellenic tradition of hospitality will surround you.

    420 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA


    Bar website

    european - $$$