It’s rare for anyone with a position of notoriety inside the college and pro football ecosystem to ever find themselves completely exposed. It is the impulse of every football-brained lifer to look at even the worst, most cretinous dipshits in the business and conclude that they still need to be Respected As Men. Football is a fraternity that excels at circling the wagons, which is why some people were initially so willing to leap to Jon Gruden’s defense, and why Deshaun Watson is about to become the most richly compensated quarterback in NFL history.
It’s remarkable, then, to see how quickly and forcefully Urban Meyer has been ejected from the wagon circle. The man only coached 13 NFL games and yet produced more reports, via sources anonymous and otherwise, about his incompetence and malice than most coaches have to deal with over the course of an entire career. And look, just today, there’s more! The Athletic has published yet another story about Meyer’s embarrassing Jaguars tenure, and this one features no shortage of people who worked with Meyer willing to stick a knife in his reputation.
Choice anecdotes include: Meyer apparently not knowing who Aaron Donald was; Meyer just straight up lying to everyone about stupid tactical decisions that were obviously his; Meyer threatening to cut players and telling them that they wouldn’t be able to find jobs that paid more than $15 an hour. Former Jags receiver DJ Chark even went on the record to talk about how much Meyer sucked at his job:
Receiver D.J. Chark, who signed with the Lions last week after spending the first four years of his career with the Jaguars, said Meyer routinely threatened to fire coaches and cut players. “He feels like threats are what motivates,” Chark said. “I know he would come up to us and tell us if the receivers weren’t doing good, he wasn’t going to fire us, he was going to fire our coach. He would usually say that when the coach was around.”The Athletic
Meyer is by no means the first rotten bastard to ever patrol an NFL sideline, nor is he the first to be entirely unsuccessful while doing so. There must be something specific about him, something so intolerable about his methods and personality, that has driven so many people who were around him for just 13 games to go out of their way to obliterate his reputation as a coach.
Read enough of the stories about Meyer’s failures and an answer starts to take shape. You can see it in his most noxious bit of behavior detailed in the latest Athletic story:
“Hey, Trevor, you’ve got to slow it down for him,” Meyer said, according to sources. “These boys from the South, their transcripts ain’t right.”
Boys. Transcripts. These are the kinds of words that sit near the top of your motivational vocabulary if you are a college coach, not necessarily in profession but in spirit. Meyer was always doomed in the NFL because, as all of these reports about his behavior have revealed, he is fundamentally incapable of seeing his players as anything other than replaceable members of a lower class. That mindset can get you pretty far when your job is to lord over unpaid college athletes whose futures rest almost entirely in your hands, but as Meyer now perhaps grasps, it’s a death sentence in the pros. It’s heartening to see the NFL spit out Meyer faster than a sip of rotten milk, but it’s equally depressing to consider how he was empowered and embraced by the college game. Nobody should have to play for a petty tyrant like this, and especially not those without the power to do anything about it.