Florida plans tribute — and maybe new tradition — for Gainesville native Tom Petty

GAINESVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 30: Malik Davis #20 of the Florida Gators celebrates scoring a touchdown with his teammates during a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 30, 2017 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)

Florida will honor Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty during its homecoming game against LSU on Saturday.

A tribute for Petty, a Gainesville native who died Tuesday at 66 from cardiac arrest, will take place at the end of the third quarter. At that point in the game, Florida’s band traditionally plays “We Are the Boys from Old Florida” while fans lock arms, sway back and forth and sing. Immediately after, Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” will be played at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to “honor a local legend treasured by Gator Nation.”

“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. “Since we are already singing ‘We are the Boys,’ 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.”

In the story announcing the gesture on Florida’s website, it suggests playing Petty’s music after “We Are the Boys from Old Florida” could become a new tradition.

Perhaps a new tradition will be born.

“We encourage fans to sing along as a way to honor a local legend and share a special moment in his music,” said Alicia Longworth, assistant athletics director of marketing and promotions. “Tom Petty is a beloved figure for so many Gator fans.”

The entire crowd singing “I Won’t Back Down” before the Gators play the fourth quarter sounds like an awesome idea. We fully endorse it carrying on beyond this weekend.

– – – – – – –

Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!