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From Jaguars’ Urban Meyer to Falcons’ Bobby Petrino, ranking the shortest head coaching stints in NFL history


The Urban Meyer era is over in Jacksonville.

Just 13 games into a five-year deal signed less than a calendar year ago, Meyer’s run as Jacksonville’s head coach has come to an end following a number of missteps since taking over the position.

Shortly after reports came out of kicker Josh Lambo accusing Meyer of kicking him at practice in August, Jaguars owner Shad Khan elected to fire the new head coach, stating, “After deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban’s tenure with our team, I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone.”

MORE: Urban Meyer fired: Timeline of dysfunction with Jaguars

The Jaguars owned a 2-11 record under Meyer, coming off of an ugly 20-0 loss to their division rival Titans this past Sunday. Khan announced the team’s offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, will act as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

With Meyer’s tenure lasting just 13 games, you might be wondering…

What are the shortest head coaching stints in NFL history?

Urban Meyer, Jacksonville Jaguars – 13 games (2021)

Meyer signed a five-year deal that was estimated to be worth $10 to $12 million annually with the Jaguars in January 2021. Only 13 games, and less than a calendar year later, Meyer has been fired after a woeful timeline of mistakes off the field and very little success on the field.

MORE: Urban Meyer contract details

Lou Holtz, New York Jets – 13 games (1976)

Holtz, a college football legend, tried his hand at coaching in the NFL but it didn’t last very long. He took over as head coach of the Jets during Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath’s final season in New York, but after going 3-10 through 13 games, he elected to resign. Holtz then returned back to the college ranks, enjoying a Hall of Fame coaching career.

Bobby Petrino, Atlanta Falcons – 13 games (2007)

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In 2007, Petrino, a well-renowned college football coach, left Louisville to take over as head coach of the Falcons, signing a five-year, $24 million contract.

He was expected to maximize the talent of quarterback Michael Vick, but the superstar never played a snap under his new head coach after being sentenced to prison due to the infamous dogfighting operation. Petrino’s Falcons went 3-10 through their first 13 games of the season, and the new head coach resigned before the year’s end to return to the college ranks.

Pete McCulley, San Francisco 49ers – Nine games (1978)

In 1978, long-time assistant coach McCulley took his first-ever head coaching job at any level when he signed with the 49ers. At the time, San Francisco had just traded five draft picks, including a first-rounder, for Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson.

Following a disappointing 1-8 start through the first nine games, McCulley was fired. The 49ers committed 63 turnovers on the season, which is still to this day the most in a single season by any team in NFL history.

MORE: Who are candidates to replace Urban Meyer in Jacksonville?

George Allen, Los Angeles Rams – Two preseason games (1978)

Allen never had a losing season in his 12 years as a Hall of Fame head coach. He coached the Rams for five years from 1966 to 1970, leading his team to two conference championships. He then left to take over as head coach of the Washington Redskins, making the playoffs five times in seven years, including one Super Bowl appearance.

However, when Allen returned as head coach of the Rams in 1978, he didn’t make it out of the preseason. The team suffered two bad preseason losses and then-owner Carroll Rosenbloom fired Allen. It was the last time he would head coach in the NFL.

Bill Belichick, New York Jets – One day (2000)

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Because of the way things turned out, you likely already know the story behind Belichick and the Jets.

Hall of Famer Bill Parcells stepped down as New York’s head coach in 1999 and the team’s highly-touted defensive coordinator, Belichick, was seen to be his successor. During Belichick’s introductory press conference, the newly appointed head coach shockingly announced his resignation.

The Jets and NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue came to an agreement that Belichick was still under contract, so the New England Patriots had to trade a 2000 first-round pick in order to pry away from New York.

In hindsight, it’s safe to say he was worth the first-round pick.



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