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New Netflix Documentary the golden era of Florida Football

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“Untold: Swamp Kings” is a four episode show on Netflix about Urban Meyer, the former head coach of the Florida Gators and his team’s two national championship victories in the span of five years from 2005-2010. The show was directed by Katharine English, released on Aug. 22, 2023. 

 

The series begins with the Florida Gators hiring Meyers as their head coach, and Tim Tebow, the former Florida Gators and Denver Broncos quarterback. Tebow was a highly touted player coming out of the city, Ponte Vedra Allen D. Nease High School. He received offers from the University of Michigan, The University of Alabama, Louisiana State University (LSU), The University of Southern California (USC), and University of Florida (UF). 

 

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Tebow was fully homeschooled up until high school. His parents told him that they could not afford to put him in college, which motivated him to become the best player on his high school football team in order to get an athletic scholarship. Many scouts started to recruit him from all over the country. His game was electrifying and people started to notice. Tebow finally chose to commit to University of Florida because he wanted to work with Coach Urban Meyer 

 

The documentary also features players like Brandon Siles, Brandon Spikes, Brandon James, Dallas Baker, Percy Harvin, and Ahmad Black. Unfortunately, the documentary sacrifices their screen time for Tebow and Meyer instead, which takes the attention and credit away from them. Football is not a one-man sport, yet the documentary only praises Tebow while overlooking other players who also made huge contributions to the Gator’s success.   

 

Emphasis was put on Meyer’s ability to change the culture and the mindsets of these young adults through his ambition, discipline, and rigorous routines. He instilled a winning mindset into the Gators by encouraging them to challenge themselves every day. The players would train at midnight, saying that it was the most intense workout they had ever done. This documentary really shows what the players experienced with each of them having different stories.

 

Their victories gave them a high, but their losses put them in misery. However, that only gave them more motivation to do better the next time they played. When the fans questioned Meyer as a leader, he began to spiral into self-doubt.. He said it questioned his confidence as a coach, causing him to believe his first year as a coach was over. 

 

The documentary reveals the impacts that Avery Martin’s drug possession and addiction had on the team. Martin was one of the up and coming players as well as one of the first recruits who committed to Florida after the employment of coach Meyer. Martin was a freshman playing his first year with the Gators. Considering that Meyer hoped to help Martin overcome his addiction, Martin’s suspension from the Gators was disappointing and tragic for him. He was dismissed by the team for an arrest on a domestic battery charge.  life changed after the charge, but not for the better. 

 

Martin was a projected starter for the Gators but had to drop out due to his domestic battery charge. He was enrolled at Bethune-Cookman University and played three games with the team before dropping out. He then tried to enroll into University of Florida for classes in January, but dropped out just a few weeks later. Later in the year, Martin died at the young age of 20 years old. 

 

The series concludes showcasing the detriments of Meyer’s unhealthy perfectionism, which caused the players to overwork and lose to Alabama 32-13 in the 2009 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship. Meyer’s experiences depicted in the documentary serve as a cautionary tale against overworking, and as a reminder of the importance of personal health.

 

Untold Swamp Kings is a riveting story about determination, loss, and camaraderie. It’s a really great show to watch to remember the good old days of college football from the 2000’s.

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About the Contributor
Angel Rodriguez
Angel Rodriguez, Staff Writer
Angel Rodriguez is a first year student at Mesa and his first year as a Mesa Press staff writer and he is excited to be apart of this wonderful program. He hopes to do reports of sports but if not he is willing to do anything he is told for this team. He is a San Diego native and his favorite sports teams are the Chargers, Padres , Clippers, and the Aztecs. He also has a background of playing many different sports when he was in high school the sports include football, basketball, baseball, and track and field.
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