Nobody needs to tell Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio how tough it is to get wins in the cutthroat NFL, so Sunday's tilt against the winless New York Jets will not be taken lightly. It took until Fangio's third year to snap his winless September slump.
On the heels of Denver's 23-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fangio opened up on his pre-game conversation with first-year head coach Urban Meyer — one of the most prolific coaches in modern college football history now waking up to the brutal realities of life in the pro ranks.
“Favorites or lines don’t mean anything to us. This is the NFL,” Fangio said on Wednesday. “I don’t know Urban Meyer at all, really. I met him the other day and shook his hand before the game and after the game. His comment to me was, ‘Every week it’s like playing Alabama in the NFL.’ That’s it. Everybody is capable of beating everybody in this league.”
It was ex-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle who coined the phrase ‘On Any Given Sunday’ which validated the league's draft system that sought to maintain competitive balance among teams. Meyer’s pro football education may have to follow a similar path to that of Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who took his lumps in the NFL despite stunning success in the college ranks.
Carroll's first NFL head-coaching job was a resounding failure but by his second go-round, he had worked out a winning formula, culminating in a victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
As far as Fangio, Meyer’s words serve as a wake-up call so that the Broncos don’t fall prey to a classic ‘trap’ game this week in their home opener. Vegas odds-makers have the Broncos listed as heavy 11.5-point favorites to get to 3-0 on the season, and with another rookie QB in Zach Wilson drawing an opportunistic Denver defense, the spread makes sense.
If the Broncos needed any more cautionary advice, it arrived via QB Teddy Bridgewater, who revealed how his mentor has urged him not to buy into the 2-0 hype and to stay grounded.
“My mentor, he texted me Sunday after the game, and was like, ‘Man, don’t take the cheese," Bridgewater said on Wednesday. "It’s poison. It’s rat poison.”
As dramatic as both Fangio and Bridgewater’s comments sound to Broncos Country, it's a mantra that could keep this team on the winning track if everyone continues to buy into it.
Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!