We keep hearing that Urban Meyer violated his own admonition to his players when he was hired on January 14th that the locker room would be the only thing that mattered in his new organization. That the focus would be on football and football alone; they could have his word on that. A promise he then traded in for the fleeting thrill of a 20-something grinding up on his grandpa parts and the "Young + Old" porn-like excitement of going knuckles deep between her denimed buttcheeks while the Mrs. was home having a stuffed animal tea party with the grandkids.
But there was another vow he made to his players, and it is one that his is keeping. And that is, that they would be accountable to one another. Take responsibility for their own actions. That they would remind themselves and everyone around them of that old truism which says, "When you point your finger up a drunk girl's butt crack, three fingers are pointing back at YOU."
So, man of his word that Meyer is, he's been going before his team and his public, raising a stinkfingered hand and saying "This is on me." And it's going about as well as you'd think.
According to Jaguars site Big Cat Country, the ball coach stepping into the crucible that is the notoriously tough, pull-no-punches interview program "The Urban Meyer Show," and faced the music:
Meyer said that the responsibility of a good coach is to make the players comfortable, meaning supporting them with sports performance, putting them in the best situation, scheme, assistant coaches and surrounding them with a safe environment, and then “get out of the way.”
“I didn’t do that, I became a distraction, made a stupid decision, and I apologize,” said Meyer. …
Now, Meyer must not only attempt to regain the trust of [team owner Shad] Khan but also his players, something he says will ultimately be up to them as the team moves forward to face off against the division rival Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
“I don’t believe that’s in my court,” he said. “We’re gonna do the best but … the leaders on your team are going to make that decision. And it depends how much trust you have built up with them, how we structure everything this week and focus on winning that game.
“So, I’m going to be extremely clear as I can, our staff is working our tails off, but you … know as well as I do that, the ownership of this team is with the players.”
You have to admit, that's an interesting take on leadership. Lincoln famously said, “Be with a leader when he is right, stay with him when he is still right, but leave him when he is wrong.” Truman kept a sign on the Resolute Desk that read, "The buck stops here." JFK took the rap for the Bay of Pigs fiasco he didn't plan by saying, "Success has many fathers, but Failure is an orphan." But Urban Meyers says Jaguars players have "ownership" of the team he runs, so it's up to the leaders to decide if they're prepared to beat Tennessee. That ball is not in his court.
Fascinating. And if you're the guy who literally has ownership of the Jags, it's fair to ask yourself what you're paying a coach $12 million a year for now that you find out your franchise is basically a Montessori School where the kids are empowered to learn on their own.
And based on what else is being reported, if Coach Badfinger is relying on his team leaders to see to it he regains everybody's trust, he's in for an even rougher time than he's already had:
Ouch. When an unnamed player is going off the record to make sure the world knows the coach is getting laughed at behind his back, there is absolutely no coming back from that. This is Michael Scott falling into the koi pond times a billion. Except eventually he was able to learn to laugh too and salvage some dignity. The opportunity for Meyers to get in on the joke and have his team laugh with him instead of at him is long since passed.
They say the only thing harder than gaining people's respect is to get it back once you've lost it. And in this case, it would appear he never had it from Day 1. And everything he's done since should be taught in classes on Public Relations about how NOT to handle an image crisis of your own making. The weak denials. The halfassed talks to his players. Skipping the team flight. (Hell, Bill Parcells skipped a team flight home from the Super Bowl 25 years ago that people in New England are still pissed off about, and he was no longer with the team at that point.) It's like everything he's done and said since is the exact opposite of what one should do when his hand is caught in the firm, round, blue jeaned cookie jar.
It's Wednesday already and still no word of a coaching change in Jacksonville. So unless there's some stunning turn of events in the next few hours, we're all going to be treated to the spectacle of watching an NFL team take the field for a humiliated, horndog head coach whose back they're all laughing behind. I hope Meyers does survive just so we get to see the situation play out. Those slaps and tickles might not have been worth it for him, but it's been great for the rest of us.