The Jacksonville Jaguars officially named Urban Meyer the seventh head coach in franchise history last Thursday. The fifty-six-year-old Meyer will return to the sidelines for the first time since 2018 when he was the head coach of Ohio State. He’ll also return to the state of Florida, where he was the head coach at the University of Florida when they won national championships in 2006 & 2008.
After more than thirty years at the collegiate level with seven different schools, Jacksonville will be Meyer’s first NFL job of any kind. He is just one of three coaches in history to win national championships at two different schools. He’ll look to become just the fourth coach ever to win a national championship in college and a Super Bowl in the NFL.
However, as he begins his second stint in the state, Jaguar fans should proceed with extreme caution when formulating expectations for the Meyer era.
Winning at all costs
With Meyer, winning not only comes at a cost, but also takes its toll.
He cited esophageal spasms and chest pains as the reason for nearly leaving Florida following the 2009 season. He doubled down on those same reasons when he eventually left Florida the following season. In 2018, he had another scare. This time on the sidelines, where he dropped to his knees with excruciating pain in his head. He later disclosed a congenital arachnoid cyst in his brain that was causing severe headaches.
But for the past two years, Meyer has remained healthy in his role as an analyst with FOX. He remained wealthy by flirting with every head coaching opportunity during that time – receiving bumps in pay from FOX with each squashed rumor.
Now, he’s taking over one of the NFL’s more maligned franchises. And if he thought the pressure to win at Florida and Ohio State was bad, it could be even worse in Jacksonville. The Jaguars have just one winning season since 2007 and have lost ten or more games in nine of the past ten years. They are coming off a 1-15 season and own the top pick in April’s NFL Draft.
That’s a choice that could make or break Meyer as an NFL decision-maker immediately. Will he select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, as everyone expects? Or will he choose Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields? Fields officially declared for the NFL Draft on Monday.
Those are just some of the questions surrounding Meyer before the clock strikes zero on the first pick in a few months. The other questions, especially ones surrounding his health, will be answered as this era is played out. For now, Jaguar fans should proceed with extreme caution when formulating expectations for the Meyer era.