Former Jaguars Coach Joins Sad Roster of NFL’s Most Embarrassing Coaching Tenures

There’s no better way to say goodbye to a coach than by firing them and hiring their replacement the day before they’re scheduled to return. That is what happened on Tuesday, when former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley was told he’d need to clear out his office in 24 hours.

The “nfl news jacksonville jaguars” is a former Jaguars coach who has joined the sad roster of NFL’s most embarrassing coaching tenures. The team has been struggling for years and the new coach, Doug Marrone, was not able to turn things around.

Former Jaguars Coach Joins Sad Roster of NFL's Most Embarrassing Coaching Tenures

The late-night revelation on Wednesday that the Jacksonville Jaguars had opted to fire head coach Urban Meyer put an end to one of the most tumultuous and embarrassing coaching careers in recent NFL history. Meyer was fired by the Jaguars less than a year after being hired, after a 2-11 start and multiple off-field missteps, culminating in Josh Lambo’s accusation of being booted by Meyer before a preseason game, which sealed Meyer’s fate with owner Shad Khan.

Meyer’s saga contained all of the elements that have run through some of the most controversial NFL coaching eras in the last 50 years: The lack of NFL experience, the strained relationship with the media, the off-field incidents, and the approaching prospect of returning to college football are all factors to consider. In Jacksonville, it was all there. Here are some of the other coaching blunders:

New York Jets’ Lou Holtz, 1976 (3-11)

Lou Holtz, like Urban Meyer, had a disastrous single season as an NFL head coach

Lou Holtz, like Urban Meyer, had a disastrous single season as an NFL head coach Getty Images/Lou Holtz

The New York Jets have a long and illustrious history of poor head-coaching appointments, including one called Rich. Who can forget Rich Kotite’s heyday in the mid-1990s?

Has there ever been a head-coaching “tenure” more strange than Bill Belichick’s in 2000? Belichick was hired to replace Bill Parcells in January 2000, but lasted just one day before leaving and being hired by the Patriots a few days later. As compensation, the Jets received a first-round selection. The Patriots have had two decades of Super Bowl celebrations and counting.

The Jets coaching failure champion, on the other hand, has stood the test of time and has turned away all challenges. The arrival and departure of Lou Holtz in 1976 set the gold standard by which all previous Jets management mistakes would be measured for the rest of time. It’s difficult to recall his dramatic failure with the Jets after his success at Notre Dame and a rich career as a broadcaster.

Holtz was hired in February 1976 after guiding North Carolina State to four consecutive bowl appearances in four seasons. He had no prior NFL coaching experience. And it was evident. The Jets had gone 3-11 the season before Holtz arrived, and they went 3-11 again in Holtz’s first season.

The Holtz 3-11, on the other hand, was especially amazing given how terrible it was. The quarterback option offense was successful for Holtz’s collegiate teams. Now he’d attempt it with the dreadfully inflexible shell of what used to be Joe Namath, and the result was an offense that averaged 12 points per game. This was a time in 1976 when the pass interference regulations had been tightened to allow for greater offense. The Jets, on the other hand, are not Holtz’s team. On the other hand, they allowed over four touchdowns per game on defense. Make the calculations.

Ray Handley was a member of the New York Giants from 1991 to 1992. (14-18)

We just celebrated a historic milestone in New York Giants football history. It wasn’t a Lawrence Taylor sack, a Phil Simms touchdown throw to Mark Bavaro, or even an Eli Manning clutch ball against the Patriots that made the difference.

Instead, it was an end-around, which head coach Ray Handley tried unsuccessfully on Nov. 25, 1991, the day after Simms led the Giants to a dramatic victory in Tampa. In his first season as the replacement to famous coach and multiple Super Bowl champion Bill Parcells, Handley had a major issue with Simms’ big day.

Following in the footsteps of a great is never easy, but Handley made it much more difficult for himself by picking confrontations with the New York media. Picking disputes with the New York media is a bad idea.  

Scott Norwood’s failed field goal that would have won the game for the Buffalo Bills is remembered most vividly from Parcells’ second Super Bowl victory in 1990. The other major story in Tampa that night was Giants backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler, who had taken over for the injured Simms and led Big Blue to the championship.

Fast forward a few months, and Handley is now the Giants’ rookie head coach, the Giants have returned to Tampa, and Simms is back in the starting lineup. However, Hostetler was about to return from his own injury, and the media wanted to hear from Handley who would be the starter when Hostetler was ready to return the day after the Giants’ 21-14 victory.

Instead of punting, Handley made an awful audible, arguing with the reporter who posed the question, making sarcastic motions, and eventually exiting the press conference entirely. He came across as a coach who couldn’t handle the job, and guess what? He was right. He couldn’t do it.

Handley was sacked after two seasons at the helm, with a record of 14-18.

Rod Rust was a member of the New England Patriots in 1990. (1-15)

Several generations of New England Patriots supporters are unaware of the franchise’s previous heinous failures. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are all that matters to the 30-and-under generation, and yes, there was that other Super Bowl with Bill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe, but they lost it, and now it’s all about the rings, baby.

But there were practically two decades of disgrace and strife until Parcells and owner Robert Kraft virtually salvaged the club – the Patriots had one foot out the door to St. Louis as late as 1994 when Kraft acquired them. Even their one appearance in the Super Bowl, in 1986, ended in defeat.

The 1990 season, though, was the lowest point in Patriots history. After bringing back Rod Rust, their defensive coordinator from the Super Bowl squad, who had never been an NFL head coach before, the club won their second game of the season, but went on to lose the next 14 to end with a 1-15 record.

Of course, the on-field calamity was nothing compared to what happened off it. Three Patriots players sexually assaulted a Boston Herald reporter named Lisa Olson in the locker room during the 1990 season, making it one of the biggest scandals in NFL history. The event was exacerbated by Patriots owner Victor Kiam’s harsh remarks about Olson, which led to an official NFL inquiry, the termination of general manager Patrick Sullivan, and penalties for the players involved.

After the season, Rust was dismissed, and Kiam placed the club up for sale, ultimately leading to Kraft’s acquisition and a new path for a disgraced organization.  

Bobby Petrino was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. (3-10)

Bobby Petrino’s rocky time as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 was doomed from the start. Petrino came in Atlanta embroiled in scandal, having departed the University of Louisville for the Falcons only six months after signing a 10-year, $25.6 million deal with the team.

Petrino was hired in by the Falcons primarily to work with quarterback Michael Vick and to build an offense around their partnership. Vick, on the other hand, would never play for Petrino after being caught on dog-fighting charges that summer, which led to a guilty plea to a conspiracy charge and federal jail term for Vick.

The season quickly unraveled, and Petrino left the Falcons in much the same way he had arrived, bolting from the team and a massive contract before the season’s end, this time to coach at the University of Arkansas, ironically the same school that welcomed Lou Holtz after his premature departure from the Jets in 1976.

Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.

After an ugly turn of events, there are six candidates to replace Urban Meyer as Jaguars head coach.

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Urban Meyer is a former Jaguars coach who has decided to join the sad roster of NFL’s most embarrassing coaching tenures. Reference: urban meyer nfl.

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