Swamp Kings delivers a vanilla retelling of Florida’s City Meyer generation


I after all completed the Florida soccer docuseries “Swamp Kings” this is airing on Netflix, and it was once much more milquetoast and vanilla than I had was hoping.

It didn’t want to be an episode of “Legislation & Order,” and it didn’t want to be a drama-filled, over-the-top, overdone piece at the Gators. However I will be able to inform you from first-hand enjoy that the four-part collection brushed over so much – so much! – of juicy storylines that made the Gators program what it was once – for just right or for dangerous.

The explanation I do know is as a result of I lined the staff from 2007 to 2010, and whilst it wasn’t the Wild West or a whole bunch of outlaws, there was once a ton happening that were given – let’s say – sorted.

Native legal professional Huntley Johnson was once very busy all through the ones days, and everyone knew it. The docuseries glossed over all of that, and I perceive why: To get get right of entry to to City Meyer, he wasn’t going to head throughout the litany of arrested avid gamers and wild scenes happening in Gainesville.

He sought after to bear in mind the great instances, paint his personal image, inform the tale the best way he sought after it instructed and the manufacturing staff went alongside for the experience. Meyer had a Circle of Believe for his high-end avid gamers. It was once extra of a Circle Of Do No matter The Hell You Need. It was once an implausible time. Cellphones weren’t but in every single place. No longer each indiscretion was once posted on social media.


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Faculty soccer had by no means actually observed the rest like Tim Tebow, and much more than a decade later Tebow’s depth and seriousness was once palpable in “Swamp Kings.” He willed himself to be an excellent faculty soccer participant, a Heisman Trophy winner, a countrywide champion and arguably the most productive faculty soccer participant ever.

Amongst a solid of characters that surely got here from other backgrounds and behaved a lot in a different way, Tebow was once the chief of that program, beloved by way of teammates and revered by way of everyone. That’s an excellent feat for a locker room filled with large egos. However issues were given so out of keep an eye on by way of 2009 even Tebow were given in poor health of the entire autograph requests and oftentimes was once pushed in a golfing cart into observe so he wouldn’t be inundated.

Since I used to be there all through that point and at numerous the ones video games, it was once nice reminiscing and taking place reminiscence lane, whether or not all through highlights in The Swamp or the SEC championship video games or the nationwide identify sport towards Oklahoma. I obviously take into account the seafood buffets and open bar for the media all week in South Florida. It was once sensory overload – and I used to be in my 20s and I took benefit.

For any individual who lived it, who had a sliver of that have and that program, it was once an attractive documentary to observe. But when I used to be a faculty soccer fan who sought after to appropriately and in truth see what it was once like all through the City Meyer generation in Gainesville it was once a fairly large leave out.

The tale Meyer tells about first studying a couple of man named Tim Tebow from some airport luggage handler? Cue eye-roll. Yeah, perhaps the most productive recruiter in faculty soccer historical past, surely one of the lively and competitive, by no means heard of a famous person quarterback 90 mins away? That one was once arduous to imagine.

The documentary brushed totally over Aaron Hernandez, who ended up being a convicted assassin and dedicated suicide in prison. There have been at all times tales that Tebow frolicked with Hernandez to control him as a result of Meyer and the training personnel knew there may well be some bother there, that he was once immature and he had to be saved in line.

However he was once additionally a big a part of the offense all through the ones years, and the documentary rarely discussed him in any respect except for for one tale the place Hernandez was once introduced beverages by way of a waitress at a neighborhood eating place/bar throughout from campus after which was once requested to pay for them by way of a supervisor who Hernandez punched, inflicting a burst ear drum. Tebow acted as peacemaker and mentioned racial slurs have been being hurled.

That was once the level of the Aaron Hernandez tale in Gainesville, in line with this documentary. That was once very vulnerable.

The collection confirmed Tony Joiner was once arrested on a housebreaking rate for breaking right into a towing corporate’s impound backyard to get his lady friend’s automotive out (and that factor may had been overblown from the start), however it didn’t point out upon getting out Joiner went proper to the airport to fly to the LSU sport. It additionally didn’t point out Joiner pleaded no contest to a second-degree homicide rate and can spend a minimum of 25 years in prison within the demise of his lady friend.

It wasn’t introduced up that superstar defensive finish Carlos Dunlap was once arrested for DUI the week of the SEC Championship Recreation in 2009 as he was once slumped over in an idling automotive at a crimson gentle. The tale going round the ones days was once that Dunlap had one foot at the fuel and the opposite at the brake – despite the fact that that’s by no means been showed.

Brandon Spikes was once a featured participant within the documentary, however it was once by no means discussed that he was once suspended a sport for gouging at a Georgia participant’s eyes.

Or that backup quarterback Cam Newton was once arrested for stealing every other pupil’s pc, portray it black together with his identify in white letters on height (now not precisely the transfer of a savvy prison), and that after the police officers got here to his dorm room to retrieve it Newton had thrown the pc out of his window.

Or the entire tales (and fantastic rumors) about Percy Harvin. From sitting out conditioning drills after which having them mainly modified day after today to enjoying basketball as an alternative of operating stadium stairs, in line with reporter Matt Hayes. Or the well-traveled tales of Harvin mainly choke-slamming place trainer Billy Gonzales to the bottom, a tale Gonzales has denied however that many of us nonetheless imagine.

Chris Rainey talked so much within the docuseries, which integrated a heartwarming tale about Rainey’s tough upbringing and the way he’d pass over to Meyer’s area for spaghetti dinners and to observe cartoons with Meyer’s son, Nate. However there was once no point out that during 2010 Rainey was once arrested for stalking and allegedly sending a “Time to die” textual content to his then-girlfriend. The ones fees have been later disregarded.

Faculty children do dumb issues. I positive did. However was once this docuseries journalism or an City Meyer/Florida public members of the family video?

Towards the tip of the docuseries, Meyer mentioned after successful the 2008 nationwide identify after which right away texting recruits from the locker room as an alternative of taking part in the instant. That was once completely true.

Meyer was once a beautiful recruiter, perhaps the most productive ever. He as soon as instructed Matt Elam (who was once fascinated about flipping) that he had a dream about training Elam, who purchased the tall story. The five-star protection signed with Florida.

However Meyer complained about shedding pounds and wanting two Ambien chased with a lager to get 4 hours of sleep. That he would sweat and shake like he was once having a panic assault. That he was once in a “deep melancholy” and couldn’t get away from bed and had no power and concept he was once going to die. It took numerous braveness for Meyer to speak about the ones problems.

Alternatively, some of the greatest tales in Meyer’s lifestyles – and particularly noteworthy for a documentary like this – was once ignored and it was once the early-morning hours after Florida misplaced to Alabama within the SEC Championship Recreation in 2009.

At round 4:30 a.m., Meyer’s spouse, Shelley, referred to as 911 and Meyer was once taken to the medical institution by way of ambulance complaining of chest pains and a tingling sensation on his facet. Shelley Meyer instructed the dispatch that Meyer would now not get up and that he were the use of Ambien.

To have a documentary about Meyer’s occupation at Florida and not to point out this episode – which was once breaking information on ESPN and particularly in all places the Florida area – is irresponsible at best possible.

For school soccer fanatics, for Gators fanatics, for me since I lined the staff all through the ones years and would hang around at fellow reporter Andy Staples’ area consuming BBQ or with Joe Goodman – now of AL.com – looking at the NCAA Event or going out for beverages slightly incessantly with the overdue ESPN reporter Edward Aschoff, it was once a amusing documentary to relive the great ole days.

However was once it a correct illustration of Florida soccer in the ones years? It rarely touched the outside, as a result of as Meyer mentioned within the preview to “Swamp Kings,” the tale was once “un-f*****-believable.”




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