It had been regarded as a given that Fox would be bringing back failed Jaguars coach Urban Meyer for its Saturday morning pregame show. But Fox didn’t announce it. For months.
Eventually, they dropped the news in a Friday-afternoon dump, before a weekend that included a nationally-televised NFL preseason game and a promo for Fox’s answer to College GameDay.
Jimmy Traina of SI.com has taken Fox to task for burying the news, and for resurrecting Urban.
The mere fact that Fox decided to downplay Meyer’s return proves that perhaps they shouldn’t have brought him back at all. How can Meyer speak with any authority whatsoever about what it takes to run an effective program, given his comedy of errors in Jacksonville last year?
He abandoned his post after a Thursday night game in Cincinnati, failing to accompany the Jaguars home to Florida after a tough loss. Instead of returning with his team, he drove to Columbus for the weekend, where he was publicly videotaped cavorting with a woman who isn’t his wife. He allegedly kicked a kicker (he denied it), and he allegedly was verbally abusive to players and coaches.
By all appearances, he seemed to think he could ride his College Town Emperor routine into town and have success in the NFL. Through it all, he looked as tormented as he ever was in even his worst days at Ohio State.
How will anything he says about coaching not immediately become a clip that is tweeted and derided? His 2020 comments about struggling teams have already become periodic fodder for tomfoolery at Meyer’s expense. Anything he says about bad teams will prompt jokes about the fact that he knows about it, all too well.
It also will be interesting to see what he has to say about his time in the NFL. Will they gloss over it? Will they force him to own it? Will he get pissy if one of the other guys on the set make a smart remark about his time with the Jaguars? (Coach may want to kick me under the table for saying this — OOPS!)
Traina reasons that Fox simply wanted to deliver Florida and Ohio to a pregame effort that remains obsessed with overcoming ESPN for college football dominance. That’s fine, but there had to be a better way to curry favor in those two states without making the folks in the other 48 scratch their kinds continuously.