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The Urban Meyer Experience Was An Unforgettable Failure

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

This will be among the last chances anyone will ever have to give Urban Meyer the burlap goodbye he worked so hard to obtain, so with nods to Comrade Kalaf for his earlier summation and a hat-tip to first reporter on the sce—oh, hell, let’s call this one a tie between everyone, since nobody but one jackal thought he shouldn’t be fired into the sun. At the time, his coaching misdemeanors did not include revelations of arguments with his best wide receiver, kicking his kicker before kicking him off the roster in a metaphorical landslide, and even losing the allegiance of his No. 1 draft pick quarterback for misappropriating and then ruining said quarterback’s first season. Shad Khan’s patience did not stretch far enough to allow Meyer to fill his People Who Hate Me Publicly bingo card with the offensive and defensive lines, linebackers or the equipment managers, and this frankly is a surprise. We thought the franchise owner might try to ride this out, but his capacity for embarrassment for hiring the guy reached E faster than his capacity for shame in firing the guy.

But you know all that because the conga line of celebrants at his dismissal has been making a racket all night, and we suspect that among the dancers might be Meyer himself, playing for the inevitable golden parachute. So while Meyer’s body remains warm (he’s probably been up all night on his banking app trying to deposit the remainder of his salary), the question to be asked here after Khan’s personal coaching choice went the way of Mark Davis’s personal coaching choice (Jon Gruden), is not what’s been gained by Meyer’s cardboard box walk, but what’s been lost.

  1. The latest excuse for why the Jaguars have the second-worst record in North American professional sports over the last decade (ahead of only FC Cincinnati of MLS, which has only existed for three years). That is coincidentally the time that Khan has owned the team, and when you pair it with his Premier League record while owning Fulham FC, he has known victory only 60 times in 230 games and has had 11 coaches between the two teams in that time. Fulham is a much better Championship side, true, but in true snobbish fashion, nobody is paying attention to that as it only leads the Cottagers back to the killing grounds of the Prem. In short, maybe this sports thing just isn’t Shad’s thing; hell, his son, who owns All Elite Wrestling, has kept his own winning percentage firmly at .500, since every match ends with one winner and one loser—as far as we know. Maybe Dave Meltzer at Wrestling Observer has better numbers, but if he does, we’d be fine if he just kept them to himself.
  2. Meyer’s reputation, which already had a few dents in it before he started coaching athletes who could talk back. He is the worst example yet of college coaches who couldn’t make the transition to an actual labor force, and that doesn’t even include his impromptu patdown searches of young female patrons at his restaurant while the rest of the team flew back home having to pretend that any of their work mattered. Meyer was so much a caricature of failure that imagining he might have done this just for the buyout only requires a set date for when it occurred to him that he was simply unqualified for the gig. We can roughly place the date at shortly after he cut Tim Tebow, and we don’t even blame Tebow for being offered a job he couldn’t do by a guy trying to do a job he couldn’t do.
  3. Jacksonville’s only reason for anyone to notice its one pro team, since everyone slows for a car wreck on the freeway but eventually gets angry about the backup and leaves during the cleanup. The Jags will now return to their world of sub-mediocrity without even the scapegoat value of having a coach so poor that he made Rich Eisen wince like he just inherited a burst appendix. Darrell Bevell, the interim coach (a.k.a., No. 11 in Shad’s Top Ten), has four chances to improve on his 1-4 career record before he is replaced, probably knowing Khan, by either Ed Orgeron or Boris Johnson.
  4. Bevell’s January replacement (we prefer Johnson, but Orgeron will do in a pinch and we’re not entirely ruling out Nick Rolovich, either), because it will take him or her a minimum of three years to repair the damage Meyer’s done to the job in 11 months, and by then the scope of the rebuild will destroy the person who won it, leaving Khan to hire No. 13.
  5. General manager Trent Baalke’s job security, since he was in the room when Khan seized upon Meyer as a solution and didn’t have the suicidal yet excellent sense to say, “Shad, I’d rather you hired Jim Harbaugh, and we hate each other’s guts.” Plus, Baalke doubtless went into Khan’s office some time yesterday and said that the situation was now beyond untenable, and that is a conversation that will rattle around the dance hall of Khan’s mind for a good long while, with Baalke’s voice as the sound loop that will make Khan’s mustache spin like a hat propeller in a high wind. After all, someone else must be blamed for this ocean liner exploding so loudly and sinking so swiftly, and in a duel between the guy who pays the salaries and a guy who collects one of them, well, you figure it out.
  6. Khan’s self-esteem, because while he didn’t wait until season’s end to fix the mess he introduced, he was still a minimum of two months late from when it first needed doing. Hiring Urban Meyer to begin with wasn’t the mistake, but the lag time from the moment it became obvious that it had become one and Wednesday night was dial-up level slow. The only reason to defend Meyer was to allow Khan to protect him from his own sense of humiliation, and Meyer took care of that with a series of epically proportioned hold-my-beer moments that made Bobby Petrino in Atlanta look like Don Shula in Miami.
  7. Comrade Thompson’s artwork on the popular feature “How Is Urban Meyer Feeling Today?” What ease of work Thompson loses in no longer getting to assemble his weekly Guernica of Meyerosity is made up for in savings in red paint, if he used paint, which he doesn’t. So no gain there either, except that Thompson might have Sundays off now, if that’s what the rest of the Thompson family considers a good time.
  8. All of our work schedules, since Meyer was such a go-to figure of fun that the concept of thinking about topics to blog had been reduced in difficulty to a Pavlovian “I’ll Do Urbs!” For those among you who never touched the hem of his garment, you shall never know the joy of having an evergreen go-to every time he did anything, since his moments of ridicule merely included everything he ever did except say the words “Trevor Lawrence.”

So while we still say Urban Meyer should have been forced to stay on the job, holed up in his hermetically sealed office to keep the employees from seizing him, taking him to the St. John’s River, weighing him down and waiting for the ocean to do its worst, it may have simply been time for us all to move on with the rest of our squalid little lives. I mean, even in a world in which Meyer was such a neon kick-me sign, his comedic value might have been spent by now.

Still, if we had to wager, there is probably an alternate universe in which he might have had a few more lunatic-powered pressers in him—in which he blames the Illuminati for a 13-men-on-the-field penalty as the turning point in a 37-3 loss to the Jets, or announces C.J. Beathard as the team’s new starting quarterback. As we are all about to learn, the Urban Meyer Experience is a resource one should never take lightly, and it is to his discredit that he still left some conceivably ridiculous outrages still on the board as he drove away.