JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Perhaps nobody has a better perspective on Urban Meyer’s chances of becoming an NFL head coach than Tim Tebow.
Tebow starred for the Gators under Meyer’s tenure in Gainesville, winning two national championships and a Heisman Trophy. He went on to play three seasons in the NFL, two for the Denver Broncos and one for the New York Jets.
Tebow, now a broadcaster and minor league baseball player in the New York Mets farm system, said on Tuesday that Meyer has what it takes to be successful in the NFL where many college coaches fail.
“What does he not have, right? This is a guy who’s a, he’s a leader of men,” Tebow said. “He builds winning cultures, he makes people believe in themselves, believe in him believe in something bigger.”
Tebow, who last played in the NFL in 2012, rejects that the notion that Meyer will use the same system he did in college if he takes a pro job like the Jaguars.
“He’s not just someone that brings a system,” Tebow said. “I think sometimes, coaches get hired for their system. Coach isn’t about one system. He had a different system at Bowling Green, then Utah and Utah to Florida and Florida to Ohio State. He’s not a system guy. He’s a people guy, a person, and an inspiration. And he in his system is based on the players that he has.”
Tebow also sees Meyer’s ability to evaluate talent of both coaches and players as a skill that will serve him Meyer well if he decides to try coaching in the NFL.
“Look at what all of his assistants have gone on to do. And they’re all around the country at all different levels, doing great things. And so he’s really good evaluator,” Tebow said. “And I think that’s a really big piece of being an NFL head coach is picking the right guys as your OC, your DC, evaluation of players. That’s something he does a really good job of. Shoot, look at all of his NFL players right now. He knows how to evaluate pretty well.”
NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo said that Meyer doesn’t appear to be ready to jump to the NFL.
“From what I gather, he hasn’t been full steam ahead with regard to taking the Jaguars’ job or making a strong push to say, ‘Hey, I’m your guy,’” Garafolo said. “I think he’d be the guy in Jacksonville if he really strongly said, ‘Let’s go.’ The conversations that I have had with regard to that situation over the last 24 hours or so I’m not getting that sense at all. And Meyer’s trying to figure out really what he wants to do here. Are there other opportunities that maybe he would wait for or be interested in? I think he’s kind of going through his options.”
Tebow, who will be in Jacksonville hosting a Faith and Family Night at the Jacksonville Icemen game on Friday (tickets can be found here) also weighed in on the performance of Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, who led the Crimson Tide to the national championship while being named the MVP of the championship game Monday night.
“I love everything about his story,” Tebow said. “Choosing to go to Alabama, when he probably could have had an easier road, other places. But he went against the grain went to a place that’s going to be harder, he’s going to have to compete, he’s going to have to grow, he’s going to have to adapt.
“We have got to understand some of these statistics like top QBR ever in the metric. It’s huge, most efficient offense ever. And yes, he has a lot of talent around him, but it still takes a baller to be able to do what he did. In the biggest moments, in the clutch moments, nothing fazes him. And you know, I’m proud of him — proud that he’s from Jacksonville the way he carries himself. It’s not the easiest to root for an Alabama guy, but I can root for Mac Jones.”
Tebow became a part-owner of the Icemen in December. Other prominent local sports figures who did the same include Jaguars’ linebacker Myles Jack, former Jaguars’ defensive end Reggie Hayward and Major League Baseball all-star Daniel Murphy.
“I love Jacksonville. It’s where I grew up, and it’s home to me, and I love the people. And so it’s important to invest in a city that is home to us, and it’s our backyard,” Tebow said. “While me and my wife, we travel all around the world for a lot of different reasons, and shoot, she’s from the other side of the world. But you know what? We love having the chance to invest here, and really means a lot to us.”
Friday’s event will raise funds and awareness to combat human trafficking, a problem Tebow says is driven by people in the United States.
“America is the No. 1 consumer of it,” Tebow said “So we’re driving most of that business around the world, it is coming right here from America. And I think it’s staggering when you hear but I think we need to hear because people need to be aware because how can you do something if you’re not aware? And so it’s really important.”
Tebow also said that he plans on getting back to the baseball diamond once spring training plans are finalized.
“Hopefully, we start on time. I’m planning on starting and we start on time, so I’m excited,” Tebow said. “It was super disappointing. Last year when we didn’t get a shot, because of COVID. But I’m training for it and looking forward to it.”