Karma finally caught Urban Meyer but Jacksonville's owner is also part of the problem
Karma always catches up with bad people. Period.
And that's why Urban Meyer finally getting his just desserts did not come as a shock. The only real surprise was that it took so very long.
I don't know the man personally but it's always been fascinating to see so few people say nice things about him and yet up until 2021 he had the reputation of being some sort of coaching savant.
Like millions of other people, I was completely surprised when Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan announced in mid January Meyer would be next head coach of his perpetually floundering team.
With the first pick in the draft on the horizon along with a bevy of draft picks, it was expected that Meyer would help build the program and make it competitive with the rest of the NFL.
Yeah, um, that didn't happen.
And among other things it solidified the presumption that successful college coaches cannot be successful in the NFL. I don't totally buy that theory but you certainly can make the argument.
To say that Meyer was ill equipped to handle the job of running an NFL team would be like saying Bobby Petrino should still be coaching the Atlanta Falcons. Yes, the man had tons of college success. National titles at the University of Florida and Ohio State shows he has some idea how to coach a football team. But not everyone in college football is destined to be able to handle a room full of grown up professional men.
It certainly didn't help that Meyer has a history of bad life decisions. From the 31 players arrested during his tenure with the Gators to the continued promotion of assistant Zach Smith despite a Smith's documented history of abusing his wife at Ohio State, it was clear that there were things Meyer was willing to overlook.
His NFL tenure started bad and somehow got worse. One Meyer's first hires was strength Coach Chris Doyle who had been fired the previous season at Iowa after being accused of making racial statements about players. Shortly after the announcement he had to fire Doyle. A short time later, he broke NFL practice rules and was fined. Or the Tim Tebow experiment which was a complete PR stunt and a total disaster.
And then it got worse. Much, much worse.
From the incident where he stayed behind after a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati and then being spotted with a woman twerking all over him to repeated allegations of him criticizing players and coaches constantly, nothing about his tenure off the field was good.
But if you have some success on the field, some things can be overlooked. Currently sitting at 2-10 with the worst offense in the NFL despite having "can't miss" QB Trevor Lawrence and some sold offensive players, there was no debating Meyer had to go. Bad decisions, bad choices and bad performances on the field just reinforced it.
If you are a Jacksonville Jaguars fan you should be questioning the wisdom of your team owner. Sure, Shad Khan has more money than god and is willing to spend most of it. That's great. In theory it should help make your franchise successful.
So far it has not helped a single solitary bit.
Sure, I get what Khan saw in Meyer. A successful college coach with a huge name brand. Well known in north Florida because of his connection to the Gators, the idea had the potential to be a public relations success.
It was just the opposite.
Here's a list of Jaguars coaches during Khan's ownership: Mike Mularikey, Gus Bradley, Doug Marrone, Meyer. Not exactly a murderers row here. Of that group, Marrone was the only one to get the team into the playoffs (2017). That bought him three more seasons. Marrone finished 23-43 during his tenure with the Jaguars making him Khan's best hire so far.
All of this leads me to ask the question: Should Khan be allowed to participate in the hiring process? On the surface, I'd say no. But he owns the team and if he wants to take part and make the decision, who will be the one to tell him no? GM Trent Baalke? Um, no. Who else can keep the owners hands out of the kitty?
Yeah, I know, Billionaires are in a position when they own things to pretty much do what they want and don't have to answer to anyone. And by nature, most people don't or won't tell them that there are certain things they need to keep their hands out of.
In my opinion (which doesn't really mean much), you hire people to run your business, let them run your business. When it comes to the NFL. There are no billionaires (Jerry Jones included) who have the background and knowledge of building and getting a team that performs well to make informed decisions.
You hire team presidents and g.m's to make those decisions. That's how teams like the New England Patriots or Kansas City Chiefs or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers operate. They let the football people make football decisions. And it works.
If you surround yourself with "yes" men then you reap what you sow. That's the impression I get with the Jaguars.
Having lived and worked in the area early in my career, it's a huge football market. People there live and love the game. If you win or are competitive, the people will come out and watch. But if you don't, your team will rank 29th in overall attendance in the league (per ESPN statistics)
I really hope at some point Khan and his management team figure out the Jaguars aren't going to get the new, shiny object coach to come to them. They're going to have to find a diamond in the rough who may not be the sexiest hire but someone capable of connecting to the players and getting them to buy into what needs to be done in order to be successful.
Hopefully the learned from the Meyer experiment because the guy somehow managed to show almost every single thing NOT to do in order to run and NFL team. Which means it can only get better from here, right???