Welcome to Deadspin’s IDIOT OF THE YEAR festivities! Nos. 50 through 11 are available for your enjoyment here. And our top 10 thus far:
10. Thom Brennaman
9. Ted Cruz
8. Rob Manfred
7. Kyrie Irving
6. Sage Steele
5. Urban Meyer
In 2021, following the franchise’s worst performance in it’s 26-year history, the Jacksonville Jaguars finally got serious. They used that No. 1 overall draft pick on quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and got rid of coach Doug Marrone, who took them to an AFC Championship game in 2018. Owner Shad Khan went for a big name to replace him — college football coaching legend Urban Meyer. Great name to go with the marquee draft pick, except the Khans made a gigantic mistake. For a rookie effort on a subpar team, Lawrence was fine, but with Meyer they forgot the one rule of capitalism: unsuccessful organizations can’t align themselves with rotten people.
There are plenty of rotten people doing well in America. The people who run the prison-industrial complex, the banking industry, which in the 2020s is still getting sued for discrimination, and hell, the way it’s looking now, Donald Trump might become the only president besides Grover Cleveland to get voted out after a first term and then win again four years later.
Meyer is not the most rotten person in America, but that’s like saying fudge is sweeter than ice cream — both can still ruin your teeth. He had the job of his dreams at Ohio State, but had to step down. Why? Because he rehired a domestic abuser from his days at Florida.
Perhaps three years after that fiasco, perhaps Meyer, as a 57-year-old man, had learned his lesson. It quickly became clear that was not the case, though, as the Urban era began in Duval. He hired a strength coach who had been fired from Iowa — where he was the highest-paid strength coach in America — after he was accused of making racist statements against his players. Meyer, a leader of professionals, decided to hire that person. Chris Doyle resigned less than 48 hours after signing on with the team in February.
Instead of humbling himself and trying to coach the Jaguars in a way to build some credibility, he proceeded to run his team in a way that mirrored a saying from the great philosopher Eric Cartman: “Whatever, I’ll do what I want.”
Meyer brought in Tim Tebow of ESPN and minor league baseball fame to play tight end, a position he’d never played before. Remember watching Tebow try to block in the preseason? College basketball players converting to tight end have struggled while learning to block, but yikes. Also, they can high point footballs in the end zone, which can help negate blocking struggles.
Before the regular season, to help Meyer make decisions on cuts, he brought in a system with him from his college days called “winners and losers.” This evaluation process charts how many times a player wins and loses in one-on-one drills, a record Meyer would then factor into his cut-making process, just like how he organized his depth chart in college.
Meyer’s logic behind this: “I believe in, ‘what’s your record?’” he told ESPN’s Michael DiRocco. “Every man’s got a record. What is it? You are what your record [is]. If you lose a lot but you have a lot of potential, that’s not real good.
“Just over the course of my career, I can give you example after example [of players who] maybe they’re a little slow, but they just never lose.”
Yeah, every red flag was there, but the Khans were pot committed. They couldn’t fire this loon before the season started, so they simply had to hope Meyer would adjust to the game and not be such a dope.
We all know how that worked out. Not flying back with the team out of Ohio, getting photographed while appearing intoxicated and a woman who’s not his wife dancing in his lap, dry snitching on his quarterback to defend himself, berating coaches, kicking kickers, and just overall taking absolutely no inventory of himself nor his actions.
From Day 1 in Jacksonville, Meyer approached the job like Joe Clark in Lean on Me with a baseball bat. Except in that movie, Clark eventually learned that pissing off an entire town is not the best way to repair a bad organization. Meyer brought out so much ill will in Jacksonville that even though the Jaguars have doubled their win total from last year with three games remaining, Meyer didn’t even make it to Week 15.
I hope all you aspiring capitalists out there learned a valuable lesson from the Khan family’s mistake. If your organization is in a bad place, that’s not the time to put a rotten person in a leadership position, no matter how successful that person has been in the past. Your organization isn’t strong enough to handle a person like that, and you’ll find yourself in a position where your organization is even more embarrassing than it was immediately following a 1-15 season.