Revisiting The Rivalry: The 1990 and 1991 Florida-Tennessee games

Every rivalry has a flash point; Ruth from Boston to New York, Chuck Bednarik hitting Frank Gifford with a clothesline, Rocket Richard breaking Hal Laycoe's face with his stick. While in the history of sport, Red Sox-Yankees, Eagles-Giants, and Canadians-Bruins are more significant, they all began with an historic act that reverberates to this day. Just like Florida-Tennessee.

Prior to divisional play, UF and Tennessee played home-and-home series. Included in this were the 1990 and 1991 games. In Spurrier's first Tennessee game as head coach in 1990, the Gators were manhandled 45-3 in Knoxville. This was the only SEC blemish, as the Gators were 6-1 and won a mythical "First In The SEC" title.

Following that game rumors spread, which persist to this day, that Tennessee fans had chants referencing the Gainesville student murders. In fact, the idea of Tennessee fans doing this led some at the 1991 game to bring even more hatred. But, there is no documentation of this chant and everything is second hand from people at the 1991 game in Gainesville. So is it an urban myth?  I asked the expert, former FTC commissioner and writer of EDSBS, Orson Swindle if this was true.

I've heard it, too, but have nothing specific to even come close to backing it up as hearsay. I think it's the Tennessee equivalent of Alabama's claim that Florida fans cheered when Tyrone Prothro's foot fell off in Tuscaloosa. It's delirious rumor, as far as I know.
ps. I emphasize: this is unsubstantiated crap.

Heading into the 1991 game, Florida was eligible for an SEC title and was 4-1 (lost to Syracuse). That, combined with the nature of the blowout the previous year, led to a highly anticipated in Gainesville. Since I was seven years old at the time, I'll let 1993 UF alum Alan W. explain.

So, when the 1991 Tennessee game in The Swamp rolled around, it was electric.  Gator fans (and not just students) were VERY loud and merciless to the Tennessee fans and players. The students hurled a sea of orange plastic cups towards the Tennessee bench, and it was so loud that many of the players from both teams had to cover the earholes in the helmets.  There is a great quote from one of the UF offensive lineman who was on the sidelines at the time; he said it was so loud his head was throbbing, and that it was the loudest he ever heard The Swamp before or since.

Tomorrow, the 1994-1997 games.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Alligator Army

You must be a member of Alligator Army to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Alligator Army. You should read them.

Join Alligator Army

You must be a member of Alligator Army to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Alligator Army. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker