Will Urban Meyer Go The Way of Bobby Petrino?

Published on September 18th, 2021 12:11 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Earlier this week, Urban Meyer was attached to the newly vacated head coaching position at USC.

The only problem? Meyer is just 1 game into his tenure as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Meyer emphatically denied his interest in the USC position, which led many to say:

"Yeah, right!"


We don't know what is going on through Urban Meyer's mind right now, and whether or not he'd actually consider quitting as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the middle of the season to coach USC.

With that being said, there IS precedent for a former college coach quitting as a NFL coach mid-season to take another college job.

In 2007, Bobby Petrino was one of the hottest football coaching commodities in the world.

Petrino had built the Louisville football program into a national power, and he leveraged that into a 10 year, $25.6 million contract.

Less than six months later, Petrino found the allure of the NFL to be too much to turn down, as he accepted the head coaching position with the Atlanta Falcons.


The allure of the Falcons coaching job was obvious - Michael Vick.

Vick was an incredible talent who was seen as being very raw. The idea was that Petrino would be brought in to make Vick a more complete QB, which would surely vault the Falcons into being one of the top teams in the league.

The problem? It would soon emerge that Vick had bankrolled an illegal dog-fighting ring, and he would be barred from playing in the NFL for the time being.


The Falcons suffered greatly, starting the year with a record of 3-10.

Petrino, however, wouldn't be deterred - in fact, he allegedly promised Falcons' owner Arthur Blank that he was in for the long haul.


Less than 24 hours later, Petrino was gone.

And by gone, I mean - gone.

Instead of facing the team, Petrino reportedly left a laminated note in each of the player's lockers, which they didn't take too kindly to.

The players were furious, as they felt abandoned by Petrino. The owner of the Falcons wasn't too pleased as well.

Petrino had been lured away by Arkansas, who offered Petrino a 5-year, $2.85 million contract.

The money was less than the NFL, though many coaches prefer the college system, where they have much more power. NFL coaches certainly have power, though NFL players take much less from their coach than in college, and NFL players have much more power.

The Falcons were completely shocked by the news, and Petrino's reputation took a severe hit.


Petrino would enjoy some moderate success after leaving the NFL.

His reputation would take another hit, however, after it was discovered that he had carried on an adulterous relationship with a much-younger woman while serving as the head coach of Arkansas. This would ultimately lead to his termination.

Petrino would coach at Western Kentucky for a year before returning to Louisville for five years.

After taking a year off in 2019, Petrino agreed to become the head coach of Missouri State, where he remains to this day.


Other coaches have quit NFL jobs to move to the college coaching ranks, though Petrino's situation was the most jarring.

Related Articles