|Ben Hill Griffin Stadium - "The Swamp"
Story of the Swamp
The stadium is best known as The Swamp, a nickname given to it by former head coach Steve Spurrier in the early 1990s. He noted that a
"...swamp is where Gators live. We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be
dangerous. Only Gators get out alive." Befitting the nickname, the original stadium, which consists of the lower half of the current stadium, was
built in a ravine placing the stands and playing surface entirely below ground level. Subsequent additions over the years have enclosed the
playing area on all sides by high-angled stands that create a closed-in, claustrophobic feel on the field. Game-day temperatures at field level
have been known to exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). Every home game has been sold out since 1979, and there is a
large and loud student section along the east side of the stadium. The student section is known as the "Swamp Things" after current head
coach Urban Meyer held a contest to name the section. These factors create an intimidating environment that can hinder an opposing team's
ability to hear playcalls and rattles nerves. The theme is completed by the pre-game video played shortly before the players run out on to the
field that shows clips of alligators while playing the theme from Jaws and closes with the quote, "The Swamp...Only Gators get out alive!"
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field is the American football stadium for the University of Florida college team, and is located in Gainesville,
Florida. The stadium was built in 1930 as Florida Field. In 1934, the stadium was dedicated to the memory of servicemen who died in the first
World War. The stadium was renamed in 1989 in honor of citrus grower and University of Florida benefactor Ben Hill Griffin, Jr. The name of the
playing surface remains Florida Field.
The stadium has expanded over the years from a seating of 21,769 to its current seating capacity of more than 90,000, making it the largest
stadium in the state of Florida. The playing surface was artificial turf from 1971 through 1989. The artificial turf was removed and natural grass
was restored for the 1990 season.
The Florida Gators football team, a member of the Southeastern Conference, plays all its home games at the stadium. Games played against
the University of Georgia Bulldogs are played in Jacksonville, Florida at what is informally known as The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,
except for 1994 and 1995 when the Gator Bowl was upgraded to NFL standards as the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ben Hill Griffin also
hosted the 1994 Gator Bowl between Virginia Tech and Tennessee as well as the 1973 Tangerine Bowl.
On the facade of the south endzone are painted the years of each of the team's Southeastern Conference championships and its 1996
National Championship. Also painted inside the stadium are tributes to the school's two Heisman Trophy winners, Steve Spurrier and Danny
Wuerffel complete with their name, jersey, and year of winning. Also are large messages saying "This is... THE SWAMP" and "This is... GATOR
- Entertainment on game days includes the "Pride of the Sunshine", the University of
Florida's Fightin' Gator Marching Band. The Pride was the first marching band in
Florida. For many years, it was known for its very large bass drum, known as the
"Biggest Boom in Dixie." It plays the Gator fight song, "Orange and Blue," after every
- Jim Finch, the public address announcer at the stadium from 1966 through 2001,
was known for his famously long "Here come the Gators!" announcement as the
home team ran onto the field. An audio recording of this entrance has been used
- George Edmondson ("Mr. Two Bits"), wearing his trademark yellow super oxford shirt,
blue seersucker trousers, orange-and-blue tie, and black-and-white saddle shoes,
would run to different sections of the stadium leading fans in his "Two Bits" cheer
from 1949 until his semi-retirement in 1998, though he returned later the following
- Fans swing and sway by rows singing "We are the Boys from Old Florida" at the end
of the third quarter. The University of Florida was a men's school from 1905 to 1947.
- Fans attending join in on shout-outs and chants such as "ORANGE" (chanted in the
East and South stands) and "BLUE" (chanted in the West and North stands).
- For many years, the Ship's Bell of the battleship USS Florida was mounted at the
North End Zone wall of the stadium. After the North End Zone expansion in 1991, the
Bell was moved to the North End Zone Concourse for several years.