The List: Predicting what’s next for Urban Meyer

Pondering possible moves for the former Ohio State coach, who was fired just 13 games into his first season in the NFL

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer stands on the sideline during the final minutes of a football game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. Meyer's tumultuous NFL tenure ended after just 13 games and two victories when the Jaguars fired him early Thursday, Dec. 16.

Overnight, news broke that the Jacksonville Jaguars fired head coach Urban Meyer just 13 games into his first season as an NFL coach. In recent days, the firing had started to feel inevitable, arriving amid a season-long trickle of embarrassing stories, many of which are so ridiculous that they trump anything we could make up.

Here’s a short list of Meyer’s missteps:

-In February, less than a month after being named head coach of the Jaguars, Meyer hired Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, despite multiple accusations of racism and bullying made against Doyle in his time with the Hawkeyes. Doyle resigned from the position two days later.

-In October, following another Jaguars loss, Meyer retreated to Columbus and one of his namesake restaurants sans wife and children. The same evening, a video surfaced in which a female bar patron danced in close contact with the coach. Meyer later apologized to his family, Jaguars players and team owner Shahid Khan for being a distraction.

-In December, an NFL Media report detailed tumult in the Jaguars locker room, describing a scene in which Meyer is alleged to have called all of his assistant coaches losers. According to the report, Meyer referred to himself as a winner and then asked each coach individually to defend their resume and say what they had won in their careers.

-Days later, in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo alleged that Meyer called him a dipshit before striking him with his foot. "For a second, I couldn’t believe it actually happened,” Lambo said. “I said, 'Don’t you ever (expletive) kick me again!’ And his response was, 'I’m the head ball coach. I’ll kick you whenever the (expletive) I want.’"

OK, let’s pause here and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of that phrase. “I’m the head ball coach.” Just spectacular stuff.

Anyway, considering the epic nature of Meyer’s NFL flameout, one might think the (former) head ball coach would do best to take some time away and ponder his failures, but accountability has never really been Meyer's strong suit. Besides, there are certainly going to be college teams lining up to take a crack at hiring the coach, who will likely follow the Lou Holtz career path: crash and burn in the pros, escape to college to rebuild his resume and then enter into a prosperous post-coaching career as a daft talking head at some sports network.

While this is the most likely course of action, we thought we’d examine a few alternate paths Meyer could take from here.

Teach a course at Ohio State in winning and accountability

While Meyer’s run as a coach at OSU is viewed in a successful light for many in Columbus and beyond, perhaps it shouldn’t be. Yes, Meyer was able to win on the field, but most Ohio State coaches do, and his off-field actions severely undercut his legacy. 

When Courtney Smith’s allegations of abuse surfaced against husband and then Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith in 2018, Meyer never took ownership of the situation, laying cover for his coach, stonewalling and offering contradictory statements. Even when Meyer finally did offer up an apology, it was directed to Buckeye Nation rather than Courtney Smith. “I’m sorry we’re in this situation,” he said.

Despite all of this, Ohio State drafted Meyer to teach a course called “Character and Leadership” following his retirement from the school. Embracing this same sense of irony, OSU should bring him back now to teach students everything he's learned in the last year about “Winning and Accountability.”

Rebrand his Columbus steakhouse as Urban’s Chopped House

Now that Meyer has been axed, maybe his namesake restaurant should reflect this reality. The only thing we’re not cutting are our prices!

Skip a costly corporate rebrand and simply help create a new winter menu for Urban’s Chophouse

Start by replacing “The” 7-0 flatbread* with the 2-11 flatbread (removed too early from the oven and topped with bitter arugula). Also, the Coach’s Pick, a $59 steak entree, will now deliver diners just $8.97 worth of food, matching the value the Jaguars got from Meyer, who coached just 13 games into a five-year contract estimated to pay him between $10 and $12 million per year.

*We cringed seeing "The" 7-0 on the menu and wanted to make sure to note it here

Release an exercise video

And name it “Kicking Your Way to Fitness with Urban Meyer.”

Run for Rob Portman’s vacated senate seat

The state seems to have a fondness for former Ohio State coaches who allegedly covered up abuses in their time at the school. Plus, the long-standing social media presence of Meyer’s wife should earn him bona fides with the anti-maskers who have dominated conversations on the right since that horde started banging on the doors of the Ohio Statehouse in 2020.

Crash at Tim Tebow’s, grow out his hair and bum around in a period of deep, personal reflection

*Extreme Tebow voice*: “You know who else didn’t get to see things through to the end, experiencing a great personal fall amid the slings and arrows of an increasingly disapproving public?”

Life coach

There are certainly people out there who will pay for Meyer to hype his own resume while repeatedly calling them a loser and asking what, if anything, they’ve accomplished in their time on Earth.

ESPN talking head

Face it, this is what’s going to happen.