Goosebump Alert: Watch a Stadium Full of Football Fans Sing a Tom Petty Song
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Tens of thousands of fans attending a college football game in Gainesville, Florida this weekend performed a massive sing-along of “I Won’t Back Down” in honor of their recently departed hometown hero, Tom Petty.
Petty, who died suddenly Oct. 2, was given the chill-inducing moving musical tribute by the Florida Gators during their Oct. 7 game against Louisiana State University. A video tribute ran on the screen while the song blasted.
— Florida Gators (@FloridaGators) October 7, 2017
“Let’s celebrate together what he meant to the world of music and what he meant to this community,” Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said in a release prior to the tribute. “Since we are already singing ‘We are the Boys,’ [a pep song traditionally sung at Gator games] let’s go right from that into one of his great anthems and make that the way we are going to jointly celebrate Tom Petty and the Gators.”
Gators Coach Jim McElwain, obviously impressed by the incredible reaction of the crowd, has embraced the possibility of making the “I Won’t Back Down” sing-along a regular feature at home games. “It was hard not to notice it. I can’t say enough about the fans in The Swamp, and I had some comments from their people afterward, like, ‘Mac, unbelievable environment.’ And it was,” he said. “I credit our fans that show up and cheer our guys on. And 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.”
The Gators also held a moment of silence before the game began, in memory of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Las Vegas that occurred earlier in the day on Oct. 2.
On Saturday Night Live, on the same evening as the game, Jason Aldean performed a cold opening covering Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” as well, in tribute to both the the rocker and the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Aldean had been performing when the incident that killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 more began.
Check here to see our newly updated collection of live covers performed in tribute to Petty since his death.
Tom Petty Through the Years: 1976-2017 Photos