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The SEC Network launches in August 2014 and fans can expect to see the "Gator Chomp" when the Gators are playing.

Tuesday April 22, 2014The Gator Chomp: SEC Network Unveils a Gator-Themed Commercial

The SEC Network launches in August 2014 and fans can expect to see the "Gator Chomp" when the Gators are playing.

VIDEO: A Florida-themed commercial for the SEC Network that features the Gator Chomp.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – If you know about the Gators, you know about the Gator Chomp.

Maybe you saw Tim Tebow’s memorable chomp in the 2008 BCS National Championship game. Or maybe it was the one Heather Mitts did at the 2011 World Cup. Or President Obama’s chomp during a campaign visit to Orlando. Perhaps you recall that Rebel from Ole Miss, Marshall Henderson, doing the Chomp at the 2013 SEC Tournament.

Yes, anti-Gators do the Chomp, too, the ultimate sign that the simple gesture means something.

For those few who may not be familiar with the Gator Chomp, well, you will see it often on the SEC Network when it launches in August. Whenever the Gators are playing – basketball, soccer, gymnastics, football, it doesn’t matter – the Chomp never fails to show up.

“Everybody that goes to Florida does this,’’ says former UF band member Monty Musgrave said.

Musgrave should know. He and former UF pep bandmate Rob Hyatt created the version of the Gator Chomp that is today one of the most recognizable displays by any fan base in American sports.

“It did just take off like wildfire,’’ Hyatt says.

How do you do the Gator Chomp? It’s simple.

Stretch your arms out in front of you, top palm turned down and bottom palm turned up. Now imagine a Florida alligator’s jaws chomping down on dinner.

You just did the Chomp, which as the story goes was started in 1981 when Hyatt and Musgrave were at a Florida football game against Mississippi State in Jackson, Miss.

Hyatt was director of the Gators pep band at the time and noticed Mississippi’s tuba section playing the theme to “Jaws” and the school’s cheerleaders making a rhythmic motion with their arms.

He turned to Musgrave and said “we need to do this.” Musgrave agreed.

When they got back to Gainesville, plans were set in motion to create a new song and cheer. What they originally called “Gator Jaws” was performed for the first time the following week during Florida’s game at LSU. The pep band introduced the new cheer to fans at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during a 15-10 win over Maryland on Oct. 10, 1981.

A tradition was born.

After some legal wrangling with “Jaws” composer John Williams was settled, UF landed on “Gator Chomp” as the official title of its now-famous composition and cheer.

“It was a spontaneous thing,’’ said UF historian Norm Carlson. “Look at it now.”

Fans all over the world, whether in the bleachers at The Swamp or on the streets somewhere far away, often greet one another with the Gator Chomp.

“You know what they are talking about,’’ former band member Adren Q. Hance Jr. said. “The band developed it and the Gator fans perfected it. It’s now one of the most iconic cheers in sports.”

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