Is the 2008 Florida Gators Championship Team Cursed?
From Aaron Hernandez to Tim Tebow to Maurkice Pouncey’s torn ACL, it makes you wonder.
A period that’s already been really pretty shitty for the members of the University Florida 2008 National Champions got worse yesterday, with the torn ACL and MCL of Pittsburgh Steelers center MaurkicePouncey. In case you’ve forgotten (five years is a lifetime in football), for a while there the Urban Meyer-coached Gators dominated college football, winning titles in both 2006 and 2008, and lost the BCS championship game in 2009. In 2007 — when they went a mere 9-4 — sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy. You’ve probably heard of Tim Tebow.
Fast forward half a decade and the those Gators teams don’t look too hot. It’s not just that 41 of the 121 players on the roster have been arrested, the most glaring example being erstwhile Patriots player Aaron Hernandez. (You’ve probably heard of him too.) But over the last few months, the evidence has mounted that those Gators were either one of the most delinquent teams in college football history, or the most cursed. Let’s take a look at some of the most glaring evidence:
Oh, Timmy, Timmy, Timmy. What to do about Timmy? He was a college sensation. He was a pro sensation, at least for a season, when he improbably led the Denver Broncos into the 2011 postseason . . . despite finishing the year with the league’s lowest passer rating. And it’s been downhill ever since. He rode the bench for the hapless Jets last year, was signed by the New England Patriots in the offseason, and was cut just a few weeks ago. He was last seen applying for unemployment benefits and wearing a “John 3:16” sandwich board in Times Square. Kidding! He may not be able to throw a football, but we love Tim. We really do.
The Steelers first-round draft pick in 2010 — and twin brother to fellow Gator, and fellow first rounder, Mike Pouncey — has been an All-Pro in each of his first three seasons in the NFL. Of course after yesterday’s injury, that streak came screeching to a halt. He’s out for the season. Meanwhile, the Pouncey brothers got in some hot water in July for going out on the town wearing “Free Hernandez” caps. The Dolphins’ Mike Pouncey, who roomed with Hernandez at Florida, remains healthy. For now.
Traded from the the Minnesota Vikings to the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason, the oft-injured former Pro Bowl-wideout tore the labrum near his hip during training camp. The 22nd pick in the 2009 NFL draft, Harvin is currently on the 60-day DL.
The Philadelphia Eagles receiver stirred up a shit storm of controversy in July when a video surfaced of an apparently inebriated Cooper challenging “every n***er here” to a fight while backstage at a Kenny Chesney concert. He was subsequently fined by the Eagles and excused from team activities. Upon returning he promptly got into a training camp scuffle with teammate Cary Williams.
And it isn’t just members the Gators offense that stumbled following the championship title. The next year the team’s defensive star, Brandon Spikes, received a half-game suspension for trying to gouge out an opposing player’s eye. Drafted by the New England Patriots in the 2010 draft, he first suffered a leaked sex tape and then a failed drug test, which saw him suspended for four games. Still, the dude has an awesome sense of style.
Despite two BCS championships in three years, the Gators coach announced he was taking a leave of absence after losing the 2009 SEC Championship Game to Alabama, citing chest pains, dehydration, and a desire to spend more time with his family. The retirement didn’t last, however, and the following year Meyer resigned again, only to take the head job at his alma mater, Ohio State. According to Rolling Stone‘s investigative report on the Hernandez case, Meyer may have helped cover up the tight end’s bad behavior while at Florida.
Not much to report here. Well, other than that he may have murdered a dude.
Photos by Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013