The history of the NFL is littered with some really terrible head coaches. One-year wonders like Chip Kelly, promising assistants like Josh McDaniels who were promoted too soon, guys like Hue Jackson and Marty Mornhinweg, who struggled to win any games. As memorable as those guys are, conjuring bad memories just by mentioning their names, we might be witnessing something very, very special: The worst head coach in NFL history.
Urban Meyer isn’t the first successful college coach to fail in the NFL. Hell Nick Saban went 6-10 with the Dolphins, and Lou Holtz carried the Jets to a 3-10 record in 1976. What separates Meyer from those guys is the arrogance and rapidity he’s not only losing games, but lighting the entire Jaguars franchise on fire while doing it.
From the second he was hired, Meyer began showing how ill-prepared he was for the NFL. This is a man who decried the free agency system because he felt it was necessary to meet with players to judge their “character” before signing anyone. Then in his sage wisdom he created drama in training camp by signing Tim Tebow to play tight end, for no other apparent reason than giving his friend a job.
All this was forgivable if it got results on the field, because in the NFL winning cures everything. Nobody expected Meyer to turn a 1-15 team into a juggernaut overnight, but when you talk-the-talk of being a winner, with a winning culture, and establishing a new era in Jacksonville — well, you damn well better deliver.
When that didn’t happen immediately, Urban began pouting instead of putting his head down and grinding. In fact, the most grinding Meyer did this season was on a woman half his age in an Ohio bar during the Jaguars bye week. It created even more drama for the Jaguars who were hopeless on the field, and hapless off of it. Then Meyer’s attempts to smooth it over were met with condemnation by players, who laughed at him, and had no respect for how he handled the meetings surrounding the incident.
It was around this time fans began rightfully questioning Meyer’s coaching ability. The issue wasn’t just that the team was bad, it’s that there was no improvement from week to week. If anything, we were seeing regressions in Trevor Lawrence’s game, starkly opposing Mac Jones in New England who was surging ahead with Bill Belichick. Here was Lawrence, a can’t-miss prospect with every tangible and intangible tool a team could want, and he was playing boring, uninspired, mistake-filled football that was partly because of terrible personnel around him, but also awful coaching.
So Meyer did what he does best, he started passing the buck. Whenever there was a question about the team’s approach, or an in-game decision, Meyer had an answer that took any focus off him. It was the players failing to execute, or him having no control over his assistants — and all this boiled over when a report emerged that Urban referred to his staff as “losers” while he, naturally is a “winner.” Just the kind of winner who goes 2-11 and looks like a kid who dropped his ice cream cone after every loss.
Oh, he also infuriated wide receiver Marvin Jones by talking down about the players that the mild-mannered leader of the offense left the facility and had to be coaxed back to return. This is a player who has been in the league since 2012, respected by teammates. He’s played for Matt Patricia in Detroit, who isn’t exactly known for being a softy, but less than one season with Meyer and he was walking out.
And just when you thought this couldn’t get any worse. That there wasn’t a possible way for this whole scenario to sink any lower, we had the starkest example of Meyer’s complete ineptitude.
#Jaguars HC Urban Meyer was asked about Andre Cisco playing more (again). He said “Cisco is playing a little bit more, I believe, I don’t have his numbers in front of me”— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) December 13, 2021
Cisco played 0 defensive snaps yesterday.
Andre Cisco isn’t just “some guy,” he was the Jaguars third round draft pick this year. A player the team should be looking to build around. Not only is he not seeing the field to get some reps while the team is struggling, but Meyer doesn’t even have a grasp on whether he’s playing at all.
This all amounts to a coach who has totally checked out. Urban Meyer simply doesn’t care. Maybe he never really cared to begin with. From the second he walked into the NFL he never learned that the kind of self-aggrandizing bravado needed to inspire boosters and sign recruits is wasted energy in the NFL. The only thing that matters is results, and with an even playing field Meyer has been left wanting, again, and again, and again.
The NFL is full of bad coaches, but ones that cause real, lasting damage are a rare and terrifying commodity. By all reports the Jaguars aren’t willing to stop the bleeding, and Meyer will retain his job. The question now becomes: For how long? In the span of months he’s turned a terrible team with hope for the future, into a terrible team with no signs of life. What happens if he’s given that rope for another year? Or perish the thought, another TWO years. Meyer is already doing the impossible: Inspiring apathy in Jaguars fans, some of the most fiercely loyal fans in the entire league, even with their team sucks. One coach has stopped them from caring, at a time they should be enjoying Lawrence’s rookie season, even if the rest of the team is bad.
All this amounts to one unassailable fact: Urban Meyer is a loser. No amount of screaming “I’m a winner!” Will change that.