Who is the Worst Coach in NFL History?

Urban Meyer is out in Jacksonville. His firing comes after a wild six month tenure at the helm that included him signing Tim Tebow, benching James Robinson, calling all of his coaches losers, kicking a player, having a sex scandal (of sorts), and, of course, going 2-11. His short lived professional career begs the question: where does he fall on the list of the worst coaches in NFL history?

First and foremost, where does a 13 game stretch fall in terms of the shortest coaching tenure in history? Urban joins special company, as there have only been two other coaches canned after 13 games, and only three others to ever serve as a head coach for a shorter period of time. That makes him just the sixth head coach to unsuccessfully complete an entire season in the history of the NFL. Ironically, the least amount of time an individual has ever been the head honcho is 24 hours, and that record, like so many others, belongs to none other than Bill Belichick. Following the 1999 season, Bill Parcels stepped down as head coach of the New York Jets, and Belichick, then defensive coordinator, was promoted to the head role. He famously would hold a press conference the next day to announce his resignation, and shortly after assumed the head coaching job in New England. The rest is history, and this is likely the last time you will ever see Urban Meyer and Bill Belichick mentioned in the same sentence.

The only other two men to underperform Urban volume wise are George Allen (2002 H.O.F. inductee), who was ousted as the Rams coach after just two preseason games, and Pete McCulley who lasted a mere nine games in San Francisco. Both instances took place in 1978. George Allen got the boot before the years first official whistle, and that Rams team ended up playing for the NFC title. The Niners on the other hand, parted ways after a 1-8 start with McCulley and went on to finish at a league worst 2-14. McCulley gets special consideration as the worst to ever do it, as San Fran didn’t even land the first overall pick in the following years draft. He played a big part in trading their first rounder to the Bills for OJ Simpson in the offseason before his demise.

The timeline of Urban’s feeble effort at being a professional coach matches that of two other highly successful college coaches. Lou Holtz (1976) and Bobby Petrino (2007), both of which resigned mid-season in order to take the head coaching job at the University of Arkansas. Petrino, however, infamously informed his team of the decision by copying a note and taping it to the stool in front of each of the players lockers. A move that led now Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer (then defensive coordinator for the Falcons), to call Petrino “a gutless bastard.”

Urban will certainly be remembered as one of the most disastrous head coaching hires in history, but won’t top the list. His seemingly intentional effort to be removed from the role makes it tough to say that he actually sucked at his job, but more so just never even wanted to have it. His reputation is all but destroyed, and the odds of him ever resurfacing as a “winner,” in anyone’s eyes but his own, are slim to none. Assuming the job as head coach of one of the worst cultures in professional football, and leaving it worse than he found it, is all that will be remembered of Urban Meyer’s NFL legacy.

worst NFL coach of all-time list:
1. Bert Bell (.179 career winning percentage {Eagles, Steelers})
2. Hue Jackson (.205 career winning percentage {Raiders, Browns})
3. Bobby Petrino (3-10 career record {gutless bastard})
4. Pete McCulley (.111 career winning percentage {biggest stain on 49ers legacy})
5. Urban Meyer (2-11 career record {hypocrite, finger pointer, loser})

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: