ESPN Films 30 for 30: The U – Blu-ray Edition

The Miami Hurricanes were gangster and hip hop before those terms became part of our consciousness.  Big, bad and brash were the young men who played football at the University of Miami. So talented, godlike and success was the team and its players that they became known around college football as The U. This documentary from ESPN sheds light on how the Miami Hurricane became a football powerhouse.

Besides Texas Florida is probably the state in which football is played the most. This means that there is a lot of talent to be found in Florida. Good news for the universities there. How did the University of Miami become the top football school in the state? Recruiters at Miami did not shy away from going into low income areas known for roughness to uncover raw talent. They went there and signed players no one else would. These players went on to make their mark on NCAA football and later the NFL.

While playing as a member of the Hurricanes football team these players became well-known and infamous at the same time. The players were obviously very talented but they also brought to the game the swagger of the hip hop culture with them and some of the dangers that went along with that type of persona. It was hard to stop them though – on the field and off. In between the years of 1983-1991 the Hurricanes won four national titles.

Coral Gables, Florida is a small, quiet community. In other words, not one you’d expect to become a football powerhouse. The University of Miami is a rather small, private institution. Again, not where you’d expect the most talented football players to go. Because of the fact that they were willing to recruit players that others weren’t the University of Miami got ahead of the bigger schools. With five national titles in eighteen years you cannot really argue with that type of success. The school also set records for consecutive home wins and NFL number one picks in the draft.

All that success had a dark side to it. On the field the team was often penalized for showboating and taunting. Discipline was not their forte. Off the field players were often in trouble with the law but a lot was overlooked because of the football success. What the film fails at is that it glosses over all the illegal things the players got themselves involved in.

Game footage along with interviews with players like Michael Irvin, Benny Blades, Alonzo Highsmith and coaches like Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson tell the tale of the development of the strong Hurricanes football program.

An interesting and entertaining watch if not completely unbiased.

Special Features: Deleted Scenes, Four Condensed Games

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