Even after a disastrous stint in Jacksonville, which will surely be remembered as one of the worst head-coaching tenures in NFL history, Urban Meyer didn’t take long to resurface, landing on his feet as a college football analyst for Fox Sports. Though Meyer had been linked to the job for months, Fox didn’t make it official until recently, announcing his return in a press briefing distributed Friday afternoon at 3:40 PM ET.
The Friday afternoon news dump is a shrewd tactic used by sports media outlets to mitigate damage, strategically issuing an announcement at a time when, at least in theory, no one would notice. In what could only be described as a masterclass in misdirection, Fox did all it could to deflect attention away from Meyer’s hiring, hoping the news would slip through the cracks by burying it in the second graf of an 11-paragraph press release.
Knowing the sports world would be outraged to see Meyer employed so quickly after taking a blowtorch to his professional reputation in Jacksonville, Fox tried to slip one by us, hoping to catch college football fans asleep at the wheel. Of course, if Fox was really worried about public perception, they wouldn’t have hired the disgraced Jaguars coach in the first place, choosing from any number of equally qualified talking heads, none with anywhere near Meyer’s level of baggage.
Whether it was outright defiance, a desperate ratings ploy or a little of both, Fox knew exactly what it was doing in ceding the floor to Meyer, giving a platform to a coach who, on top of sweeping numerous scandals under the rug at Ohio State, revealed himself to be an abusive tyrant, all while taking zero responsibility for the Jaguars’ failures in 2021. Critics of cancel culture would argue Meyer, after hitting rock bottom in Jacksonville, deserves the chance to redeem himself. But did Fox have to make it so easy for him, eschewing any pretense of accountability by welcoming Meyer back with open arms?