Florida fans sing "I Won't Back Down," in honor of Tom Petty during the Gators Homecoming game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

The Swamp crowd singing Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” after the third quarter Saturday was such a big hit that it looks like it’s going to become a new Florida Field tradition.

UF athletic director Scott Stricklin posted on Twitter on Monday that the practice will continue, following the traditional “We Are the Boys” before the start of the fourth quarter

McElwain and the players will be glad to hear that.

“It was hard not to notice it,” UF coach Jim McElwain said of the Petty tribute. “I can’t say enough about the fans in The Swamp, and I had some comments from their people afterward: ‘Mac, unbelievable environment.’ It was. I credit our fans that show up and cheer our guys on.

“And then to see that after ‘We Are the Boys,’ and to hear that place in unison — that was, it was special. Credit goes to the people who put it together, and more than that, the response then of the fans. And, ultimately, I won’t back down. It kind of hits home, for me.”

Tribute to Tom Petty


Tribute to Tom

Posted by Gatorsports on Saturday, October 7, 2017

The players also noticed.

“I thought it was really cool,” junior offensive guard Tyler Jordan said. “I was sitting on the bench with coach (Brad) Davis and he was chalking stuff up. People started singing and I was looking around and I kind of forgot because my adrenaline was going and I was in the flow of the game. I just kind of forgot that we were going to play ‘I Won’t Back Down’. But, it was a really cool experience.”



  1. Unfortunate that it took Tom Petty’s passing to get the Gainesville/UF recognition as a favorite son. I know he didn’t attend UF, but he was connected with the University.

    Great idea to honor him, great song to remind our competitors that we don’t give up, even when the season is not turning out the way we want it to. Keep up the good fight, boys!

  2. I’m an Gator in Austin Texas. We had ACL this weekend and Friday’s main guest was Jay Z. Before his show started they played Tom Petty’s at ACL in 2008. This was a jay z crowd from teenagers to people in their 50’s. They played the song Free Falling and regardless of age or skin color the entire crowd sang along. That struck me just how much Tom Petty was revered by everyone. Very moving moment!

  3. It was a great one time thing. So, now we are going to have visiting bands playing over We Are The Boys like the classless lsu band did so this can be played after. It will fizzle out after the new wears off anyway.