Before I get into what needs to be said about Netflix’s ‘Untold: Swamp Kings’ documentary, I need to give you all full disclosure. I grew up in Alabama surrounded by Alabama and Auburn fans. I happened to grow up as a Florida Gators fan due to my grandfather’s fandom. If you haven’t watched the documentary yet, I recommend doing so because I’ve got some things to say about Netflix’s ‘Untold: Swamp Kings’.
The Florida Gators under Urban Meyer’s tenure were some of the best teams in college football’s history up to that point. There was talent all over the field and in 2006 they started the run of SEC teams winning the national title every season for a long time. With all of that being interesting for a documentary, people were probably expecting to see and hear about all of the things that had happened off of the field with those Gators teams.
Long story short, they didn’t. Netflix produced four episodes about these Gators teams, and I thought for sure they would squeeze all of the juice out of it that they could. A few weeks ago we all watched the ‘Untold: Johnny Football’ documentary and were left wanting much, much more. However, there was only one longer episode for Johnny, compared to the four episodes that Urban Meyer got.
For reference, the Florida Gators teams during that time span of 2006-2010 had Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Riley Cooper, Chris Rainey, Brandon Spikes, and a guy named Aaron Hernandez. Not to mention the Pouncey twins, Carlos Dunalp, and whole bunch of other dudes that didn’t get a lot of shine, but got in plenty of trouble. Urban Meyer would get the best talent to Gainesville, but a good bit of the talent enjoyed getting in trouble too.
There was only a slight mention of Aaron Hernandez getting in a fight at a bar and Tebow ended up taking the blame on it. Percy Harvin literally fought and choked out his wide receiver’s coach. Carlos Dunlap got a DUI the week before the SEC Championship. There are a number of other instances like this throughout the time period where URBAN MEYER led the team as head coach.
This was a documentary that portrayed how great the teams were on the field, but Netflix and whoever produces the Untold series (I’m not going to give them the time of day to look up their names because these aren’t documentaries of untold stories. We’ve heard all of this before) decided to make this a documentary about how Urban Meyer was such a great coach.
There wasn’t a peep about the cover ups of a great amount of crimes committed by the team, except for one journalist that basically a number of charges just “disappeared” out of the blue. I was incredibly pumped to watch this series, along with the Johnny Manziel doc, because I was hoping that there were going to be a ton of untold stories. Turns out I learned maybe one new thing from the Johnny Manziel doc, and I don’t think anything new came out of the Swamp Kings.
College football fans who watch this documentary are probably not going to learn anything new or hear any untold stories. Non college football fans will probably know a handful of the stories, but that’s not really who this documentary is for. College football fans have been wanting a 30 for 30 on these Gators teams for YEARS, and Untold decided to do it. Untold didn’t give us anything untold.
From a nostalgic perspective as a Gators fan from the ages of 8-21, it was awesome to remember all of the games I stayed up watching on the couch downstairs in the house I grew up in. Being a Gators fan during the time where they won two football national titles and two basketball national titles smack dab in the middle of Alabama/Auburn territory was a blast.
The Tim Tebow cell phone celebration at LSU in 2007 was folklore, and the two national title games obviously stand out as games that are engrained in my brain. However, my allegiances have changed and I’m a Mississippi State alumnus, the Gators memories still live on.
The good news about these college football “documentaries” is that the real thing is just a few days away. We’ll all be able to sink into our couches promptly at 9 a.m. to watch College Gameday, and not move until Pac-12 after dark ends at 1 a.m. Can’t wait.
I’ve got some things to say about ‘Untold: Swamp Kings’.