Urban Meyer won national championships as the head football coach at Florida and Ohio State. He’s also notorious for being a controlling dick who bullies his players. This approach has not worked with the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars. Meyer was kicked out of his job yesterday in the first year of a five-year contract.
There have been a series of incidents involving the irascible and egomaniacal coach who shares a name with a lemon. If the lemon fits, suck on it or is that squeeze it? Fruit analogies are not my strong suit.
Josh Lambo was off to a slow start. The Jaguars kicker missed a field-goal attempt in each of the first two preseason games.
But the fourth-most-accurate placekicker in NFL history wasn’t worried as he stretched with teammates at a practice during the week before the final exhibition game against the Cowboys in August.
Then Lambo was approached by head coach Urban Meyer, who wasn’t calling Jaguars specialists by their names.
“It was ‘Kicker, Punter, Long snapper,’ ” Lambo said. “Or Shitbag, Dipshit or whatever the hell it was.”
The names didn’t bother Lambo, but what the former Florida Gators coach did next, Lambo said, were the actions of a mean-spirited bully.
“I’m in a lunge position. Left leg forward, right leg back,” Lambo said. “Urban Meyer, while I’m in that stretch position, comes up to me and says, ‘Hey Dipshit, make your fucking kicks!’ And kicks me in the leg.”
Once the story became public, the coach was canned for kicking the kicker.
In the real world, that’s called assault. But so-called power coaches such as Urban Meyer live in a bubble. As far as they’re concerned, they can do what they want when they want to. College coaches like Meyer get away with it because they have the hammer. The NFL is an owner’s league. The owners have the hammer. Jaguars’ ownership finally stopped kicking the Meyer can down the road and fired his sour ass.
A college coach accustomed to wielding almost unchecked power over players, staff and even universities themselves suddenly must operate on others’ terms upon joining the NFL. Meyer was the ultimate power coach in college.
“College coaches are not like NFL head coaches, who spend all their time in the office,” a team exec said. “In college, there is no owner. The A.D. doesn’t come down and look for you. He comes down and your secretary says you’re out recruiting and he says, ‘OK,’ turns around and leaves. He doesn’t know if you’re spending three extra days in Florida on the golf course, and if he does find out, you can always say, ‘Yeah, I was recruiting in Florida, one of the coaches down there wanted to talk about RPO
In the NFL, the players have agents, lawyers, and a union. They’re not at the mercy of coaches. Urban Meyer was the highest paid state employee in both Florida and Ohio. He was a demigod on the gridiron. That doesn’t work in the NFL. Just ask Nick Saban or Steve Spurrier both college power coaches who failed in the NFL.
The hot-tempered hard-ass football coach is the stuff of legend but most of them have been screamers, not kickers. Even that approach is on the wane in the pro ranks. Modern players don’t respond well to some middle-aged jerk getting in their face and screaming at them. Today’s successful hard-ass coaches tend to be aloof authoritarians.
The kicking the kicker story was just the latest in a series of mini-scandals for Urban Meyer. It proved to be the last straw and got him kicked to the curb.
Bobby Knight was fired by Indiana for assaulting a player. He returned to the coaching ranks within a year because he was a winner. It wouldn’t surprise if Urban Meyer becomes a college head coach again. He was a winner in college but a loser in the NFL and as a human being.
The post title is, of course, ironic. I don’t usually get a kick out of kicking people when they’re down. I make an exception in Urban Meyer’s case. He’s a professional asshole whose malakatude finally caught up with him.
I get a kick out of today’s last words. They come from Louis & Oscar, Nat King Cole, and INXS: