USA TODAY Sports’ Jarrett Bell breaks down what Urban Meyer needs to do to be a successful coach at the NFL level.
Oh, to have the blind self-assurance of Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer.
The duo appears set to reunite with the Jacksonville Jaguars, for reasons obvious only to the two of them. They are more than a decade removed from their days of being the hottest combination in football, in a setting that barely resembles the scene of their greatest success. Yet they’re both somehow convinced this is going to work.
Which just shows how large their egos are, and how little they really know.
Tebow was a bust as an NFL quarterback, shipped out of Denver even after he’d won a playoff game. He threw 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 35 games over three seasons, and his career quarterback rating was just 75.3.
He hasn’t played in a regular-season NFL game since 2012. Hasn’t even been around the league since 2015, spending much of the past five years trying to make it in baseball, instead.
Tim Tebow appeared in a preseason game with the Eagles in 2015. (Photo: Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports)
But Tebow is convinced he can contend for a spot on the Jaguars roster. At a position, tight end, that he’s never played. At an age – he’ll be 34 in August – when most players are winding down their careers.
Even more mind-boggling, Meyer is putting his own NFL career on the line to let him try.
Meyer is a tremendous coach, there is no denying that. But he has always believed he knows more than he does, and he has a history of letting his personal feelings influence his thinking. This looks like the worst combination of both.
Meyer would be the first to admit he has a soft spot for Tebow, and with good reason. They won two national titles together at Florida. Tebow is, by all accounts, a charming and likeable person.
But the NFL is a business, with no room for nostalgia or personal affection. Particularly for a team trying to build around a rookie quarterback.
Converting Tebow to tight end will take the coaching staff’s time and attention, and that is a distraction the Jaguars can’t afford when they need to be devoting every second to Trevor Lawrence’s development.
Worse, Meyer runs the risk of losing his locker room long before he can win his first game.
Meyer has already stepped in it once, hiring a strength coach who’d been accused of racism and bullying by more than a dozen players, most of them Black, when he was at Iowa. Now he’s going to bring in the teacher’s pet.
Meyer no doubt sees Tebow’s character and work ethic as providing a good example for the Jaguars. But this isn’t the college game. The guys in his locker room are grown men fighting for their jobs. They don’t need lessons from a guy who has yet to prove himself in the NFL, and whose best days are more than a decade behind him.
It also will not be lost on some that Tebow is getting yet another chance while Colin Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl the same year Tebow could barely get off the New York Jets’ bench, has been blackballed.
Tebow will also bring added media attention, and the hype of fans who adore him for nothing related to his athletic abilities. While he can’t control that sideshow, it will rub some of the Jaguars the wrong way and that has the potential to create a toxic atmosphere in the locker room.
But Tebow and Meyer aren’t worried about any of that. They’ve won once, no doubt they can do it again.
Which only shows how ill-equipped they both are for the NFL.