American Football Database
Ron Meyer
Biographical details
Born(1941-02-17)February 17, 1941
Columbus, Ohio
DiedDecember 5, 2017(2017-12-05) (aged 76)
Austin, Texas
Playing career
Position(s)Quarterback, defensive back
Head coaching record
Overall61–40–1 (college)
54–50 (NFL)
5–5 (XFL)
Accomplishments and honors
1 SWC (1981)
As a coach
1x NCAA Division II Coach of the Year (1974)
1x SWC Coach of the Year (1981)
2x AFC Coach of the Year (1982, 1986)
UPI NFL Coach of the Year 1987 As a player
1962 Academic All-Big Ten
1962 Noble E. Kizer Award
1963 Big Ten Medal of Honor

Ron Meyer (February 17, 1941 – December 5, 2017) was an American college and professional football coach. He is best known for having been the head coach of Southern Methodist University, the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts.


Meyer's head coaching career began at UNLV, where he coached from 1973 through 1975. In 1974, he had an undefeated season at UNLV at 11–0; leading the Rebels to the NCAA Division II playoffs. In 1976, Meyer was the head coach of Southern Methodist University where he coached until 1981. This tenure included winning the Southwest Conference championship in 1981 with running backs Eric Dickerson and Craig James. While at SMU, Meyer was the losing coach in the famous "Miracle Bowl" in the 1980 Holiday Bowl, where SMU held a 45–25 lead against BYU with less than four minutes to play in the fourth quarter, only to lose 46–45 thanks to three touchdown passes from Jim McMahon.

Meyer moved to the pros in 1982, where he would coach the New England Patriots for three seasons. He was named the AFC Coach of the Year in his first season where he led the New England Patriots to the playoffs in the strike-shortened 1982 NFL season after the team had finished with the league's worst record the prior season. He is perhaps best remembered by New England fans for coaching during the infamous Snowplow Game against the Miami Dolphins on December 12, 1982. Under heavy snow at Foxboro Stadium with 4:45 remaining in the game, the Patriots lined up for a go-ahead field goal. Meyer called for a stadium worker named Mark Henderson (who was on a prison work release) to drive his snowplow on the field in order to clear an area for holder Matt Cavanaugh to spot the ball and to give kicker John Smith better footing. The Patriots went on to win the game, 3–0, on their way to their first playoff appearance since the 1979 season.

In 1984, Meyer was fired in midseason despite having a 5–3 record and was replaced by Raymond Berry. The move was prompted by team-wide alienation of players on Meyer's part, to where Patriots GM Patrick Sullivan was forced to hold player-only meetings. Meyer responded by firing assistant coach Rod Rust, though he did not have authority to do so. He was fired soon after.[1] Rust was rehired by Berry, and the Patriots reached Super Bowl XX in 1985 and won the AFC East Division Title in 1986. Rust became head coach upon Berry's resignation after the 1989 season, but was fired after a disastrous 1–15 campaign in 1990.

Meyer spent over a year out of coaching after being dismissed by the Patriots. Late in the 1986 season, he was hired to coach the Indianapolis Colts, who were 0–13 at the time. Meyer promptly led the Colts to 3 straight victories to finish 3–13. A year later, he won the AFC East Division title with the Colts where he once again won the AFC Coach of the Year. Meyer was helped in large part by being reunited with his former college standout, Eric Dickerson, who was acquired by the Colts in a three-team, 10-player trade involving the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills.

The Colts did not return to the playoffs under Meyer, slipping by one game in each of the next three seasons, from 9-7 in 1988, to 8–8 in 1989 and 7–9 in 1990, despite the selection of quarterback Jeff George with the first overall pick in the 1990 draft. He was widely criticized in trading up in the draft to obtain George, which included sending star players, receiver Andre Rison, lineman Chris Hinton, and the Colts' first round pick in 1991 to the Atlanta Falcons. George's short-lived stint in Indianapolis did not make matters better. In 1991, when the Colts started off 0–5, he was let go.

The year after his dismissal from Indianapolis, Meyer became an analyst for CNN's Pro Football show. He would remain in that role for two seasons.

In 1994, Meyer returned to coaching again. This time Meyer became the head coach of the Canadian Football League's Las Vegas Posse franchise. The Posse finished the season 5–13. In addition to the poor record, the team suffered from poor attendance and eventually was caught in an ownership debacle. Meyer was to be fired if the team's proposed move to Mississippi went through, but when it did not, and the Posse's roster was dispersed, the franchise's next potential owners in Miami (see: Miami Manatees (CFL)) had planned on retaining Meyer as coach, but the team folded before playing a single game. Meyer would return to his role at CNN in 1995.

In 2001, Meyer returned to coaching, this time as part of the XFL's Chicago Enforcers franchise. The team would finish 5–5 and would lose to the eventual champion, the Los Angeles Xtreme, in the league semifinals. After the season, the XFL folded.

In his later years, he was an NFL analyst for the show The Score on the NFL on the Canadian sports channel The Score.

Meyer died on December 5, 2017, at age 76 from an aortic aneurysm while playing golf with friends in Lakeway, Texas.[2]

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
UNLV Rebels (NCAA Division II independent) (1973–1975)
1973 UNLV 8–3
1974 UNLV 12–1 L Grantland Rice
1975 UNLV 7–4
UNLV: 27–8
SMU Mustangs (Southwest Conference) (1976–1981)
1976 SMU 3–8 2–6 T–7th
1977 SMU 4–7 3–5 T–6th
1978 SMU 4–6–1 3–5 T–6th
1979 SMU 5–6 3–5 6th
1980 SMU 8–4 5–3 T–2nd L Holiday 20 20
1981 SMU 10–1 7–1 1st 5
SMU: 34–32–1 23-25
Total: 61–40–1
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
NE 1982 5 4 0 .556 7th in AFC 0 1 .000 Lost to Miami Dolphins in AFC Wild-Card Game
NE 1983 8 8 0 .500 2nd in AFC East - - - -
NE 1984 5 3 0 .625 2nd in AFC East - - - Fired midseason
NE total 18 15 0 .545 0 1 .000
IND 1986 3 0 0 1.000 5th in AFC East - - - -
IND 1987 9 6 0 .600 1st in AFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Cleveland Browns in AFC Divisional Game
IND 1988 9 7 0 .563 2nd in AFC East - - - -
IND 1989 8 8 0 .500 2nd in AFC East - - - -
IND 1990 7 9 0 .438 3rd in AFC East - - - -
IND 1991 0 5 0 .000 5th in AFC East - - - Fired midseason
IND total 36 35 0 .507 0 1 .000
Total 54 50 0 .519 0 2 .000


  1. see Tales From The Patriots Sidelines (Illinois: Sports Publishing LLP), by Michael Felger
  2. Former Patriots, Colts head coach Ron Meyer dies at 76

External links