Well, I was wrong. I thought Urban Meyer would be able to work in the NFL. He was saying all the right things, he was talking about how important culture was.
And then he actually started coaching in the NFL, and it was basically one fuck-up after another.
Ari Meirov compiled a list:
Let’s quickly run through these:
- Chris Doyle: I read up on the initial allegations against Doyle while he was at Iowa, which were the reason he was fired from there. A lot of the stuff he said was crass and definitely not politically correct, but I would not say it was egregious. Would I defend a guy telling black players he’d “send them back to the ghetto”? No, no I wouldn’t. But it’s not like he was dropping the n-word. The guy was a dick, for sure, but I don’t know if I’d say he was this evil racist who hated black people. Why would you even work in football if you’re a racist, anyway? However, it’s just a dumb move to hire a guy that clearly has a toxic reputation and that the players are probably going to dislike. Not smart.
- Tebow: Was a it a blunder? Sure. But let’s not act like “nepotism” never happens in the NFL. Sometimes players get roster spots based on who they know. Shocker. But the Tebow thing was obviously never going to work, and it just felt like the nepotism was so transparent. I thought he brought Tebow in to be a locker room presence, but the dude simply couldn’t play and did not belong on the team, and everyone knew it.
- Drafting Etienne: I mean, I understand wanting to pair Lawrence with his college running back. Could the Jags have found a better player at a better position? Sure, absolutely. Odafe Oweh would’ve been nice to get, that dude can play and he’s an absolute freak. And Elijah Moore has turned out to be a good little receiver. But if Travis Etienne was playing this year and not injured for the season, maybe people would be looking at this differently. Etienne is a really good football player and this seems a bit unfair.
- Openly admitting he wanted Kadarius Toney over Etienne: Yeah, even if it’s true–and it’s obviously true not just because he said it but because Kadarius Toney is an absolute stud and would have been incredible to have for Trevor Lawrence–you just don’t say this. I don’t know why he said this. I don’t remember him ever saying anything like this in college, “Well we got [player] to sign with us but we really wanted [other player] more.” Just dumb.
- Cutting players over vax status: This is another thing you just don’t say. The NFLPA flipped its lid.
- QB competition: If he really thought a competition was merited, then so be it. And maybe he didn’t want to just hand the job to a rookie without him actually having to earn it. Just overall seemed petty and may have ultimately hurt the team by depriving Lawrence of valuable reps.
- The bar incident: I mean, do I really have to discuss this one? Idiotic.
- Calling coaches losers: We don’t know the full context here. Maybe he was trying to motivate and challenge his guys and it didn’t go over well, I don’t know. But it’s not like the team was playing good football. Then again, asking your coaches to defend their resumes when you were the one that hired them? I mean, even if they’re all bums, that reflects poorly on you, not them, because you gave them all jobs.
- Screaming match with Marvin Jones: Again, we’re not getting the full story. Seems like things were just leaking out towards the end with the intent to destroy Urban’s reputation. But as far as I know Marvin Jones is a respected veteran and has never been a problem anywhere he’s been, so on this one I feel like you have to give MJJ the benefit of the doubt.
- Benched James Robinson: I mean, I get trying to emphasize ball security after Robinson fumbled, but people are going to ask questions when it’s Carlos Hyde, Urban’s former player at Ohio State, getting the reps–and also fumbling and not getting benched for it. Players get benched for fumbling all the time, though. But then Urban tried to pass the blame off to the team’s RB coach, while also sort of trying to justify the benching–it was odd.
- Calling a kicker a dipshit and telling him to make his fucking kicks: Really? Are we going to whine about this? Kickers do need to make their fucking kicks, and if they don’t, they are dipshits.
- Kicking a kicker (Josh Lambo): Okay, now this is not defensible. How hard did he kick the guy, though? Was it a violent kick with intent to injure? Or was it more of a swift kick in the behind to send a message, “Get your shit together, pal.” I do think that the way things were leaking out towards the end here, it was all designed to be as negative as possible and not give Urban any benefit of the doubt and make him look like a total dickhead. We never heard his side of the story on anything.
- 2-11 record: speaks for itself.
Look, I don’t think it was working out. I’m not disagreeing with the decision to fire him. It clearly didn’t seem like Urban was made for the NFL. You cannot treat NFL players like college players. You just can’t.
I also don’t think Urban Meyer was able to handle all the losing. I think he lost his marbles over losing so many games after winning so many games in college.
I’m not saying coaches should be okay with losing. But NFL coaches have to understand that even the best teams aren’t going to win every game. It’s impossible. Especially when you just don’t have the roster to truly compete, and the Jags this year simply don’t.
I think two things were true: Urban Meyer brought a lot of this on himself–probably most of it. But I also think the media was out to get him from the very start. There are simply a lot of people out there in the media who, for whatever reason, really don’t like him and haven’t liked him for a long time.
Maybe it’s the way he left Florida and then Ohio State, always citing “health concerns” and then taking another job not long after. There’s also the fact that he had Aaron Hernandez on his team at Florida, and there were other stories badly-behaving players at Florida, too. People think the guy is a scumbag.
It did feel like he was on thin ice, with the media, from day one in Jacksonville. The fact that he continually made bad decisions combined with the fact that he was never going to get the benefit of the doubt for anything–he was basically doomed from the start.
So where does he go now?
Well, probably not back to college–at least not immediately. The USC, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, LSU, Miami and Florida jobs have all been filled already. The only coaching vacancy in college football right now is Temple (lol).
Urban Meyer’s brand is radioactive right now. Nobody wants to hire him, I’d imagine. Well, nobody that could get him, that is.
He might be able to get a job as an analyst at a network, but I don’t even know if that’ll happen anytime in the near-term. More time has to pass.
There were rumors that Ryan Day was going to take the Bears job, which would’ve meant an opening at Ohio State, and people figured Meyer would go back. But I think Ryan Day shot down those rumors and said he’s not going anywhere.
I think Ohio State is probably happier with Ryan Day anyhow. Sure, Day lost to Michigan, and Urban Meyer was undefeated against Michigan, but there’s no way they’d get rid of Day and hire a guy who is currently public enemy #1 in college football, even if he is an Ohio State legend.
I’d guess that Urban Meyer will go back to Columbus and work in some capacity in the Ohio State athletic department, taking an advisory role or something of that nature.
It just feels like Columbus is the only place in the country where he’d be welcomed with open arms–and that includes in his own home, too, after what happened at the bar. Can’t imagine his wife was too thrilled about that.
I would assume Ohio State fans still have a generally good opinion of him, no? I mean, sure, he retired citing health reasons and then took the Jags job 2 years later, but given that things have gone pretty well under Ryan Day, I can’t imagine Ohio State fans have much of a grudge against Urban. It would be different if Ryan Day absolutely bombed as head coach and the team floundered after Urban left, but that has not been the case.
So yeah, my best bet would say he probably ends up back in Columbus in some capacity.
Overall, Urban Meyer was clearly not cut out for the NFL. He couldn’t handle it. I think the guy was out of his element the whole time, never got comfortable, and wound up making one bad decision after another.