Urban Meyer lasted just 13 games as the NFL head coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Meyer’s tenure ended in typical scandalous fashion. The Jaguars are 2-11. The fast-paced failure timeline featured viral videos in Ohio bars and allegations that Meyer kicked Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo for missing field goals in practice. This experiment failed in no time, and Meyer will likely never be the NFL’s head coach again.
We all know the follow-up question: Would the 57-year-old Meyer return to college football in the future?
After all, Meyer lasted 13 seasons in the Power 5 between stops at Florida and Ohio State. Add in the two-year stints at Bowling Green and Utah, and Meyer finished with an 187-32 record as the FBS coach. That .854 winning percentage is the third-highest mark of all time.
Is this the end of the road for Meyer? That’s possible. On October 6, Action Network’s Brett McMurphy reported that 85% of Power 5 sports directors would not consider signing Meyer for the 2022 season. Meyer expressed no interest in going back to college football this year, and I could always go back to the studio. It was a hit on FOX’s “Big Noon Kickoff.”
So what about 2023? Or 2024? Meyer’s name will be posted when college football openings come up. The difference is that Meyer would have to accept that the stage will be smaller if he resurfaces in the college game.
Nick Saban was 15-17 with the Miami Dolphins from 2005-06. He built the most successful college football dynasty of the modern era in Alabama after leaving the NFL.
Steve Spurrier lasted two seasons with Washington in the NFL with a disappointing 12-20 record from 2002-03. After a year off, Spurrier took the job in South Carolina when he was 60 years old. He led the Gamecocks to their best streak in school history and an 86-49 record over 11 seasons.
Bobby Petrino had a disastrous 3-10 season with the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 and an unceremonious departure from Arkansas in 2011. He has coached Western Kentucky, Louisville and Missouri State ever since.
Meyer’s career is a mix of those three coaches. He won national championships in two different programs like Saban. He’s a larger than life presence and creates enemies along the way like Spurrier. He has had shameful scandals like Petrino.
But those guys love to train. Spurrier trained at the AAF in 2019. It’s what they do, and that’s why a university will call on Meyer in the future. That leads to three questions.
Never underestimate the ego with a very successful coach. Meyer’s name came up when USC and LSU had openings this round of the coaching carousel. Texas was believed to be hunting Meyer last year. Meyer could take a year or two off and then go back to the college game, where he has won at every stop.
The game has changed with NIL, the transfer portal, and an expanding movement to empower athletes. Meyer was an old-school tyrannical coach who produced results in the BCS and CFP eras, but will that message continue to resonate given outings in Florida, Ohio State, and now Jacksonville? Imagine if Meyer kicked a college kicker? There is a high level of toxicity around Meyer that will be there for a few years.
It may not be a national championship-ready program like Texas, and that’s the problem with this comeback. It’s hard to see Meyer following the same path as Spurrier, who made South Carolina an SEC contender. It took six years to win the SEC East. Could you see Meyer taking a job at UCLA, West Virginia, or NC State?
No. Meyer needs to be in the spotlight and in charge of a program that is in pursuit of the national championship. That may not happen, but we’re not ready to rule it out.
Why? Meyer fell in the NFL in spectacular fashion in 13 games.
College is where you could resurface as a winner.
There are 13 years of evidence to back it up.