Florida Gators 2011: Top 10 Traditions for the Gators
The Florida Gators have a long and storied 106-year football history, a history that includes eight SEC championships, three national championships, and three Heisman winning quarterbacks.
Along with one of the craziest and most loyal fanbases in the country, the Gators have a very tradition rich program. Some traditions are old, some are new, but they are all unique to the team.
These traditions just fell short of cracking the top ten.
Albert and Alberta
Albert was introduced during the 1970 season but had to wait until 1986 to be paired up with Alberta. Albert even appeared in a "This is Sportscenter" commercial which you can watch here.
Orange and Blue
The school colors. Not blue and orange, orange and blue.
Touching the Gator Head Before Coming Out onto the Field.
This one is relatively new. Urban Meyer implemented this tradition but it has staying power. Rubbing the Gator head in the locker room even made its way into EA Sport's NCAA football video game this year.
The Gator Walk
This is a relatively new tradition that Urban Meyer implemented before the Wyoming game in his first season. Not even Urban could have predicted what a success it would be at the University of Florida. Thousands of fans line up hours before kickoff outside of the stadium and form a walkway that the players walk through when entering the stadium. The walk continues across the field and into the locker room.
Many college teams have some sort of variation of this tradition, like the Vol walk in Tennessee. While the Gators were not the first team to start doing this, it is a great way for the fans to get up close and personal with the players on game day.
The Pride of the Sunshine
In another pregame tradition, the Gator band, known as the Pride of the Sunshine, march onto the field and spell out "Gators" in a cursive script. The band then moves from that formation into a block U and F that the players run through onto the field.
Alma Mater After the Game
After a home win the whole team and coaching staff walk over to the band, and sing the alma mater as performed by the band.
The Gators officially play in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, but most know the stadium as "The Swamp." Coined by head coach Steve Spurrier, the nickname has stuck and even found its way to a wall in the stadium.
The stadium has earned the nickname because, as Spurrier said it best, "in the swamp only Gators get out alive."
Orange and Blue Chant
This is a chant that you have to experience in person.
The stadium is split in half, with the student section and the rest of the east side of the stadium chanting ORANGE with a return of BLUE coming from the west side of the stadium.
Gator Growl is the culmination of homecoming week. Starting in 1932, Gator Growl has morphed from a day where dad's would come visit their sons (Florida was an all boys university at the time), to the variety show and concert that it is today.
Gator Growl has seen performances by Bob Hope, Jay Leno, Bill Cosby, Daniel Tosh and Kevin Hart to name a few.
Here Come the Gators
The Gators come out onto the field to a familiar voice.
As the Gators run out onto the field the PA announcer can be heard saying "heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere come the Gators."
This announcement let's the fans know that the team is about to come out of the tunnel and really pumps up the 90,000-plus fans.
Mr. Two Bits
The story of George Edmondson and the Florida Gators goes back over 60 years. Affectionately known as Mr. Two Bits, Edmondson led the Gator faithful in a chant before every home game.
The tradition began in 1949 when Edmondson was attending a game and did not like that the fans were booing their team. Edmondson started a cheer in his section and encouraged others to cheer rather than boo their team. This ended up growing to the point that Mr. Two Bits would recite his cheer before every home game.
Although Edmondson retired after the 2008 season, the tradition lives on with Albert leading the chant. Albert dresses up in Edmondson's traditional blue pants, yellow shirt and orange and blue tie.
The Mr. Two Bits chant goes...
All for the Gators, stand up and holler.
We Are the Boys
One of the longest running and most beloved Gator traditions happens after the third quarter at every home game. 90,000 fans all stand up, throw their arms over their neighbors' shoulders, and sing "We are the Boys" while swaying from right to left. It is an impressive site to see 90,000 fans, locked at the arms, swaying and singing.
Easily the most recognizable tradition for Florida, and one of the most recognizable in all of college sports.
While the chomp is traditionally used when the band plays the Jaws theme song before every kickoff, it is also used after big plays, after a win or just because you feel like chomping.