On Monday, the world unexpectedly lost Tom Petty—rock star, songwriter, everyman, and native son of Gainesville—to cardiac arrest at the age of 66. Like Prince, Bowie, and Cornell before him, Petty’s passing stings and will continue to each time “Runnin’ Down a Dream” thunders in on the radio, but there’s reason to celebrate his legacy too, and on Saturday the Florida Gators marching band plan to do exactly that. Here’s how it will all go down:
At the end of the third quarter, after the UF band plays "We Are the Boys from Old Florida" and fans lock arms and sway as they sing the UF spirit song, Petty's famous tune "I Won't Back Down" will blast across Steve Spurrier/Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to honor a local legend treasured by Gator Nation and far beyond.
- University of Florida
Appropriately enough, the tribute will also double as something of a homecoming for Petty, who, as legend has it at least, once worked as groundskeeper for the University of Florida while moonlighting as a musician. John Fogerty would have paid for that story if it were for sale, but thankfully for us—and the five trillion dads/teenagers/open mic vets/unsuspecting football fans tuning in on Saturday to pay their respects—it never was and, now, never will be.
Looking for one last dance with Mary Jane? Florida vs. LSU kicks off at 3:30pm on CBS.