• phil cantor/@osgphil

Urban Meyer to Jacksonville wouldn't be a surprise but would be a mistake



Being a successful football coach can often make you a "bright, shiny" object to people in the game and to fans.


Urban Meyer has been one of those "unicorn" types for College Football teams and now for NFL owners for, say, the last decade.



Meyer has been highly successful at Florida and then Ohio State, but when things got rough, just like an imaginary unicorn---poof, he was gone.



In the meantime, in between coaching gigs, Meyer found something else he's actually pretty good at--talking about football on television.


Which brings us to the flirtation between he and the Jacksonville Jaguars, an NFL team in search of an identity and an owner with near infinite amounts of money to throw around.


I would not be surprised in the least of Jaguars owner Shad Khan offers Meyer his head coaching job. If you are one of those people who say "why?", all you have to look at is his status in North Florida.


Yeah, he didn't leave on super great terms, but Meyer left the Florida Gators with a pair of national titles on the resume. You're kidding yourself if you think that doesn't matter.


Sure, there was a bit of a stench when he "retired" due to possible health issues and left behind a nearly bare roster and a history of overlooking crimes and other problems on his Gator team, but that friends is in the past. Yeah, he may have left Ohio State after um, some problems with overlooking potential crime within the coaching staff too but...Urb be Urb.


The two titles alone will always make him a legend for most in North Florida. If you live there and are a Gator fan (which there are tons), leaving on not-so-great terms won't matter.


Did I mention that Urban won a national at Ohio State? Yeah, the guy wins. A lot. Pretty much everywhere he's ever been a coach.


The Jaguars, well, they need to make some sort of splash. Over the past several years, they've been at best inconsistent. Mild success followed by seasons like 2020 where they were 1-15.


It's hard to describe the fanbase to anyone who does not or has not lived in the south where College Football usually ranks ahead of the NFL. If and when the Jaguars win, fans will come. And they will be some of the most enthusiastic fans you'll ever meet. Lose and they want nothing to do with you. They'll spend their money on the college football team du jour (Gators or Seminoles with an occasional Georgia Bulldog).


Having lived in Jacksonville and currently in Atlanta, it's the way it works here. NFL football is not the same as it is in the Northeast and parts of the midwest, it has not been THE game for generation upon generation.


Which brings me back to Meyer.


I would not be surprised if Khan decides to pay Meyer an obscene amount of money to run his team which has the potential for future success. It would be a humungous mistake.


Meyer has not been an NFL coach. He is by most accounts one of the most intense people on the planet and largely unable to accept losing. Which could be a big NFL issue. Sure, there are College Coaches who are able to make the leap to the NFL, but the trash heaps are littered with ones who can't.


Assuming for the sake of argument his health is good, unless the Jaguars were to go from worst to first within the next two years, the likelihood of Urban sticking around based on his track record is not good. He has a history of burning out and say the Jags go 7-9 for a season or two, I'm pretty sure he won't be able to handle it.


Good, successful college coaches do not always make the transition to the NFL more fail than succeed. Arguably the best comp to Meyer right now may be Steve Spurrier who had also had a ton of success at Florida only to fail miserably with the Washington Redskins.


But right now, today, if he were to take the job, Meyer would put butts in seats. The Jaguars have had attendance problems for several years, largely due to their performance and lack of marquee names. Urban Meyer would change the marquee thing immediately.


They need fans to help Khan convince the city to help renovate the outdated, Gator Bowl stadium. It lags far behind many stadiums in most every category. The city however can't afford and has thus far been unwilling to fork over the likely 9-figures required, nor should the fork it over. Khan has the money to do it himself. But that's another issue (owners getting city handouts).


Listen, at the end of the day, I don't even know if (a) Khan will offer him the job or (b) if he'd take it. To be honest, I really, truly believe it would be a bad decision for both parties.


Sure, Khan would get his short term attendance bump, but where would it leave him a couple years if Meyer can't salvage the franchise? As for Meyer, he has a great job with none of the stress or strain of having to coach/run a team for 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. Why leave it? Why jump back in when you are or could be set for life? You don't have to prove anything to anyone. You've been successful and will be in the College Football Hall of Fame in due time.


I'm guessing my friend Tom will tell me I'm totally wrong and Meyer will be the guy here and he's probably right. But I hope not. It would be a disservice to everyone involved. He'll tell me that the Jags will have Trevor Lawrence and a tons of salary cap money. And he'll tell me there are some pretty decent players in place. And he's right.


But as we all know, "bright, shiny objects" usually get all of the attention and Urban Meyer is definitely that. I just hope that Shad Khan and the Jaguars, along with their fans understand that just because someone has a big name, doesn't mean that person is going to solve your problems.


I could be wrong here, but I'm just trying to keep it real....

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