JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Urban Meyer’s time as the Jaguars head coach was filled with headlines and highlights, most of them unfavorable. A look at some of Meyer’s moments in Jacksonville. He was fired early Thursday morning.
Urban Meyer hired
Jan. 14: The Jaguars make their biggest coaching hire ever, landing the ultra-decorated college coach Meyer. Owner Shad Khan said at the time, “This is a great day for Jacksonville and Jaguars fans everywhere. Urban Meyer is who we want and need, a leader, winner and champion who demands excellence and produces results.”
Feb. 11: Meyer announces his coaching staff, which includes Chris Doyle, the ex-Iowa strength and conditioning coach who was put on paid administrative leave June 6, 2020 amidst allegations of racism and mistreatment of former players. Meyer said at the time that “I vet everyone on our staff and like I said, the relationship goes back close to 20 years. [There were] a lot of hard questions asked, a lot of vetting involved with all our staff, but we did a very good job vetting that one.” The Fritz Pollard Alliance ripped the hire as “unacceptable.”
Feb. 12: Doyle resigned after one day on the job, saying he didn’t want to be a “distraction” to what the Jaguars were building.
Jaguars sign Tebow
May 20: The Jaguars announce that they signed former Nease High and Florida icon Tim Tebow to play tight end. Tebow had won a Heisman Trophy at quarterback when he played for Meyer in Gainesville. But he hadn’t played in a regular season game since 2012. While many local fans loved the move, Meyer was derided for it.
$300K in fines for Jaguars, Meyer
July 1: The NFL fines the Jaguars and Meyer for violations in organized team activities. The Jaguars were fined $200,000 and Meyer $100,000 for the issues. The Jaguars were one of three teams fined (San Francisco and Dallas were the others) but Jacksonville’s fine was the largest.
Reality check in Week 1
Sept. 12: Jacksonville’s Week 1 opponent, Houston, was supposed to be the worst team in the league. Then, the Jaguars played them and looked ill-prepared in a 37-21 loss.
College rumors begin
Sept. 15: Rumors begin of Meyer’s attraction to college jobs, specifically Southern Cal. Meyer said in a press conference that “there’s no chance [of returning to college]. I’m here and committed to try to build a organization.”
‘Every week is like playing Alabama’
Sept. 22: Broncos coach Vic Fangio said that Meyer told him before Denver beat the Jaguars, 23-13, that the NFL was tough. “I don’t know Urban Meyer at all really, I met him the other day, shook his hand before the game and after the game and his comment to me was, ‘Every week it’s like playing Alabama in the NFL. And that’s it. Everybody’s capable of beating everybody in this league.”
Sept. 30: The Jaguars play well in a Thursday night game against the Bengals, but lose at the wire, 24-21. Meyer didn’t return to Jacksonville with the team, electing to stay in Ohio.
Oct 3: A viral bar video began circulating Saturday night before but it took off Sunday morning. It showed Meyer very close with a young female in his Columbus, Ohio restaurant/bar who was not his wife, Shelley. It was viewed more than half a million times in just hours.
Oct. 4: Meyer addresses the video, calling it a “distraction” and apologizing. Another angle of the video emerges after Meyer’s press conference showing his hand on the young woman’s back side.
Oct. 5: Khan releases a statement calling Meyer’s behavior “inexcusable,” and said that he “must regain our trust and respect.”
Finally, a win
Oct. 17: The Jaguars end a 20-game losing streak with a 23-20 win over the Dolphins in London. “I really enjoyed that locker room after the game. I think I enjoyed that more than the actual game,” Meyer said. The Jaguars reach the bye week at 1-5.
Who’s making the calls?
Dec. 6: Meyer denies that he’s responsible for pulling running back James Robinson after he lost a fumble against the Rams, saying he doesn’t make those decisions. Meyer said the team wanted to limit Robinson’s workload because of injuries, although the team had him getting carries late in the game when they were down 30.
Losers and a fight
Dec. 11: The NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports that Meyer calls his assistant coaches losers and got into a heated argument with receiver Marvin Jones. Meyer says that he has high expectations for his staff but denies calling them losers. He said the argument with Jones was overblown. The Jaguars are shut out by the Titans a day later, 20-0, the first time they have failed to score in a game since 2009.
Dec. 15: Former Jaguars player Josh Lambo said in a story to the Tampa Bay Times that Meyer kicked him during warmups and called special teams players derogatory names. Meyer denied the report. Hours after that report broke, Khan fired Meyer.