About the film
"I've been dreaming about the NFL for as long as I can remember. A lot of guys do around here. Football is a ticket out." — Pahokee High School running back Antone Smith.
In poor, out–of–the–way towns in Florida's Everglades, the football players at Glades Central and Pahokee high schools dream that the game will make them rich and famous. They have good reason to: The New York Times reported two years ago that small, rural Glades Central had produced more active National Football League players than any other high school in the country, and smaller Pahokee also has big names to boast.
The Muck Bowl is an annual showdown between the two schools and an annual showcase of local football talent. It attracts as many as 12,000 fans, including former players and alumni from as far away as California and New York. When the players look up into the stands, they know that more than a few college recruiters are sitting there, too. They know the game could be their ticket out of an area where jobs are scarce, the average wage is about $12,000 a year and the biggest employers are prisons and sugar–processing plants — an area introduced to the American public 50 years ago by Edward R. Murrow's award-winning documentary "Harvest of Shame."
"The Muck Bowl" is the story of the place, the players, and the teachers, coaches and families to whom it falls to encourage the players to pursue their football dreams, but also to understand that education just might be the only ticket out.