Thousands of fans at a college football game in Florida this weekend have performed a sing-a-long of "I Won't Back Down" in honour of their recently departed hometown hero, Tom Petty.
Petty passed away on October 2nd was given the moving musical tribute by the Florida Gators during their game against Louisiana State University. A video tribute was rolling during the song being played.
“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.”
The coach Jim McElwain, was impressed by the incredible reaction of the crowd and 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 afterwards, 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.”
You can watch a full video of the crowd's tribute below: