Urban Meyer Preparing to Enter Brave New World of NFL Coaching

Urban Meyer.
Urban Meyer. / Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The news Jets and Jaguars fans have been anxiously anticipating for well over a year has finally come. According to Ian Rapoport, both Jets coach Adam Gase and Jaguars coach Doug Marrone will be fired after the season.

While Rapoport did offer the caveat that the dismissal of Marrone is "not firm and final," he did offer another nugget that indicates it's a done deal and opens the door for a former college great to enter the NFL ranks.

Former Ohio State and Florida coach Urban Meyer, again according to Rap, has told people close to him that he believes he already has the Jacksonville job secured. He's so confident, in fact, he's even reaching out to build a coaching staff around him.

This would be a bold move from Meyer, who has never coached at the NFL level. He has been in the broadcast booth for the last two years after taking a second hiatus from coaching citing health concerns. Returning from a two-year absence is never easy, but it's even harder for a college coach to make the jump to the NFL.

Only three coaches in history have won a college football national championship and Super Bowl -- Pete Carrol, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer. There have been far more college coaching greats who failed miserably in the NFL than succeeded, most notably Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier. Like Meyer, neither of them coached in the NFL before accepting head coaching jobs. Neither lasted more than two seasons.

Meyer, it appears, is intrigued by the prospect of building around Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who the Jaguars are expected to draft No. 1 in 2021. Outside of him, the Jaguars have limited talent across the offense and defense having traded away most of the stars who led them to the AFC Championship in 2017. It will be a total roster rebuild for Meyer, who will simultaneously have to develop new systems that succeed at the highest level of coaching, learn how to operate under the tight constraints of the NFL salary cap, and won't be able to use his recruiting prowess to entice talent to Jacksonville.

If Meyer takes the Jags job, he'll be putting his nearly-flawless reputation as a college coach on the line. He won three national championships combined with Florida and Ohio State and didn't have a losing record in 17 years as a head coach. But the NFL is a different animal altogether, one Meyer is unfamiliar with, and the challenge it would present would be the ultimate litmus test of Meyer's greatness or, in terms of the NFL, lack thereof.