Florida State’s “war chant” might have begun with a random occurrence that took
place during a 1984 contest with the Auburn Tigers, but most Seminole historians
might remember it to be a tradition that holds over thirty years in it’s
evolution. With the popular Seminole cheer of the 1960’s, “massacre,” led by
members of the Marching Chiefs chanting its melody, so was the first stage of
the current popular Seminole cry. In a sense, “massacre,” was the long version
of FSU’s current “war chant”.
During a very exciting game with Auburn in 1984,
the Marching Chiefs began to perform the cheer. Some students behind the band
joined in and continued the “war chant” portion after the band had ceased. The
result, which was not very melodic at the time, sounded more like chants by
American Indians in Western movies. Most say it came from the fraternity
section, but many spirited Seminole fans added the “chopping” motion, a
repetitious bend at the elbow, to symbolize a tomahawk swinging down.
continued largely among the student body during the 1985 season, and by the 1986
season was a stadiumwide activity. Of course, the Marching Chiefs refined the
chant, plus put its own special brand of accompaniment to the “war chant”, and
the result exists today.
By the time the Atlanta Braves started with it, the
chant and the arm motion generally were associated with Florida State’s rising
football program. The Kansas City Chiefs first heard it when the Northwest
Missouri State band, directed by 1969 FSU graduate Al Sergel, performed the
chant while the players were warming up for a game against San Diego. Such a
powerful cheer, FSU’s “war chant” can be linked to Atlanta’s and Kansas City’s
resurgence in their own respective leagues.