Urban Meyer has gotten a quick wake-up call in the NFL, starting off 0-2 for the first time in his entire career as a head football coach. And for the former college football coach, it appears he has been able to partially pinpoint why wins have been so much harder to come by at the NFL level thus far.
Meyer's self-revelation of the NFL's talent level was delivered to ears by Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, who on Wednesday revealed one of Meyer's comments to him during the Jaguars/Broncos Week 2 game in Jacksonville. With one reporter asking Fangio about his team's focus level in a week where they are heavy favorites, Fangio was quick to note that in the NFL, there are no favorites -- something Meyer's example helped him put into words.
"This is just our third game, you know, it is the next game. Favorites or lines don't mean anything to us, you know, this is the NFL," Fangio said.
"I don't know Urban Meyer at all really, I met him the other day, you know, shook his hand before the game and after the game. And his comment to me was 'every week it is like playing Alabama in the NFL', you know. And that is it. Everybody is capable of beating everybody in this league."
While Meyer's comments (or Fangio's retelling of Meyer's comments) have drawn some criticism, it isn't a surprising statement to see from the first-year head coach. Meyer spent decades in the college ranks obsessing over every single detail and aspect involved with college football. So far, he has eight quarters of NFL experience under his belt. To him, Alabama is still the standard.
But it does show the transition Meyer has had to make during his leap to the NFL. Every team the Jaguars play against in 2021 is arguably miles better than any team Meyer has coached against in the past. There are no more cupcake games on the schedule, no more Big 10 follies to take advantage of. Instead, there are only 32 teams made up of the best football players in the entire world.
This, of course, is something Meyer has touched on in the past. Meyer's biggest advantage at the college level was almost always having the most talented team, but Meyer said at his introductory press conference in January that the playing field is now even.
"You’re in a league that is designed to be .500. You’re talking about Coach [Bill] Belichick, one of my great friends, a person I’ve always admired. He’s the best of all time and you’re talking about a .686 winning percentage," Meyer said in January.
"You’re talking about the league is built to be .500 and that’s—I’ve coached at Utah where we were picked to lose most of our games, I’ve coached at Bowling Green where we were picked to lose most of our games, and then Florida and Ohio State, you’re picked to win most of the games. So that’s the biggest challenge, is looking across the field and saying they’ve got what you’ve got, or sometimes they’ve got more than you’ve got.”
The Jaguars are off to a bad start in 2021. The hope is Meyer and his young team will soon hit their stride and begin to reverse trends like the current 17-game losing streak the franchise is smack dab in the middle of.