Less than one year into his NFL head coaching stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Urban Meyer has been fired.
Meyer was fired Wednesday evening and Darrell Bevell will serve as the team's interim head coach for the remainder of the season, Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement.
Jacksonville is 2-11.
"After deliberation over many weeks, and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban's tenure with our team, I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone," Khan said in the statement.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 16, 2021
Meyer’s firing comes on the heels of a nonstop spate of controversy in 11 months as head coach. The chaos was punctuated this past week when NFL Network dropped a bombshell report of sweeping discord surrounding Meyer inside the franchise. That was followed by former kicker Josh Lambo alleging in a Tampa Bay Times report that the coach kicked him during practice this season.
A league source told Yahoo Sports that Khan had a series of meetings with Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke following Sunday’s loss to the Tennessee Titans, discussing the direction of the team and the viability of continuing with Meyer at the helm. After weighing the results of the season through Sunday — and amid multiple reports suggesting discontent inside the franchise and locker room — Khan ultimately came to the conclusion that Meyer hadn’t been able to regain his footing as a leader following a less-than-flattering video of him was taken in a bar following a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in October.
While it was believed Khan had the right to fire Meyer for cause after that incident, he ultimately chose to put him on what was effectively a “probationary period." During that time, a league source said Khan monitored the team’s performance on the field and how the staff inside the building continued to interact with Meyer, as well as the players. According to the source, the NFL Network report, the trajectory of quarterback Trevor Lawrence and a handful of other issues ultimately led Khan to determine that Meyer had undermined his ability to pull the team together and gain momentum into the offseason.
The firing comes 336 days after Khan hired Meyer, promising that the coach would bring an elite level of culture-building and winning to the franchise.
“This is a great day for Jacksonville and Jaguars fans everywhere,” Khan said in a statement on Jan. 14. “Urban Meyer is who we want and need, a leader, winner and champion who demands excellence and produces results. … While Urban already enjoys a legacy in the game of football that few will ever match, his passion for the opportunity in front of him here in Jacksonville is powerful and unmistakable.”
In the end, it was the mistake of hiring Meyer that was ultimately unmistakable. He brought a consistent string of spotlight moments that put the franchise in negative headlines while repeatedly raising questions about Meyer’s fit at the NFL level. He had a list of missteps or odd decisions that was staggering in length in only 11 months. They included:
Hiring a controversial strength coach
$300,000 in offseason fines
Weighing vaccination in roster cuts and triggering an NFLPA investigation
"Getting out of dodge” by skipping the team’s flight home after a loss, then appearing in a viral bar video with a young woman
In all, it was a remarkable gauntlet of self-created problems, leaving ownership to take the unprecedented step of firing a newly minted head coach after only 13 games.