This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie/series/feature being covered here wouldn't exist.
"Untold: Swamp Kings is worth watching if you’re a sports fan, otherwise it might feel long and bore you a little."
BY ROMEY NORTON AUGUST 18, 2023
The docuseries opens with thrilling music, fast cuts between clips of the spot and interviews, setting a precedent for an action packed series. Untold: Swamp Kings is a docu-series with four upsides with a runtime between forty-five minutes and an hour each. The series explores how the legendary ruthless football coach Urban Meyer turned the ragtag 2000’s era Florida Gators into forceful winning machines.
In the USA football is massive. It’s not just a sport, it’s a way of life. The documentary discusses the importance of brotherhood, your team is like your family. For many people the sport is a way out of their underprivileged backgrounds, it’s a way to leave a previous life behind and become something special. It’s a masculine sport, filled with high levels of emotion, from stress, anxiety, pressure, to euphoria and excitement.
In this docuseries audiences are able to watch exclusive interviews with players from the team, such as Dallas Barker, Ryan Stamper and Tim Tebow, and interviews with Urban Meyer himself. The interviews are set up in clean, minimalist, spacious rooms, giving a sense of order and wealth.
Florida fans were eager for a win, and The Florida Gators were losing respect, feeling guilty and downtrodden. Florida is described as having impatient fans, and that college football is a life and death experience. The pressure is on Meyer to make a winning team. We’re shown gruelling footage of the athletes working out, and their intense regimes Meyer put them under. They speak about the 5am drills and how difficult Meyers' programme for success really is. There is footage from the games, showing the masses of supporters cheering, and how important these games are to people. The cheering fans are infectious, and you can feel the importance of this sport in people's lives.
What stands out is the pressure in this sport. The pressure to be perfect. Your lives, your schooling, your reputation all rely on your ability to play this game.
Players have to be tough, but then be composed, be a winner but humble. When they lose, the immense pressure they feel is clear through their emotional interviews and seeing footage of them crying in the locker room after the game.
By episode two they’ve won the championship, they’ve done it, so what can two more episodes be about? Well, episode three we see multiple players from the Gators getting arrested, players leaving, and Meyer has to turn that around, fast. The team ended up with two championships in three years, and the standards to keep winning, keep being the best are high. With one dramatic loss, we are shown how this can affect everyone, especially Meyer. Who eventually retired due to the stress the game was causing him and his mental health.
For a docuseries, Untold: Swamp Kings is worth watching if you’re a sports fan, otherwise it might feel long and bore you a little. Although, the cheering of the crowds are contagious and really uplift you as a viewer.