In the lull between Weeks 4 and 5 of the NFL season, the most salacious story out there is the Urban Meyer scandal. Videos recently emerged of the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach in an Ohio bar following his team’s 24-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football, cavorting with a woman who wasn’t his wife. This led to an apology by Meyer, a public dressing-down from Jags owner Shad Khan, and reports that the incident is causing Meyer to lose the locker room.
On Tuesday, Pat McAfee gave Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers an opportunity to weigh in on the situation. While Rodgers wouldn’t comment directly, the 17-year NFL vet did shed light on why it’s much easier for Meyer to lose the locker room in the pros than it would be if he were still coaching at the college level.
Reports say the Urban Meyer scandal is not going over well in the Jacksonville Jaguars locker room
After yet another loss that brought the Jaguars to 0-4 on the season, head coach Urban Meyer decided not to fly home with the team. That’s when he went to a bar where his “stupid mistake,” as he called it in one of his multiple press conference apologies, happened.
In a Twitter thread following the video of Meyer’s actions coming out online, reporter Michael Silver detailed the “crisis” the former Ohio State Buckeyes and Florida Gators head coach faces in the Jaguars locker room.
Silver quoted one anonymous Jaguars player as saying, “He has zero credibility in that stadium. He had very little to begin with.” The reporter also has player quotes stating that the team was turned off by the fact he “only apologized to position groups individually,” he claimed the woman in question was “just there dancing,” and that “he even canceled the team meeting. He was too scared.”
The most damning quote Silver got was about the players’ reaction after Meyer’s apologies. The unnamed source said, “We looked at him like, WTF? Right when he left everyone started dying laughing. And he knew it.”
After 17 years of college coaching, this situation is much different than anything that happened at the lower level. That’s because coaching an NFL team is very different than coaching a collegiate one, according to Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers explained the difference between coaching in college and coaching in the NFL
On the Green Bay standout’s weekly guest spot on the Pat McAfee Show 2.0, the host engaged Rodgers in the Urban Meyer scandal story. McAfee asked for the QB’s take on the situation while allowing that he didn’t have to dive into the specifics.
Rodgers, thoughtful as always, took the opportunity to lay out the player/coach relationship in college and how that same relationship is entirely different at the NFL level. Rodgers explained:
I think one of the biggest differences is, in college, you call your coaches ‘Coach.’ In the NFL, you call them by their name. Now, that might seem like a small detail to some, but it’s not to those of us who played, and the understanding is there’s not a fear. There’s a fear in college that ‘this person controls my ability to move on and play this game professionally. And in an instant, I can go from a first-round pick to an afterthought, and this person could trash me to any person calling,’ so there is a healthy fear.Aaron Rodgers on coaches in college vs. the NFL
Rodgers went on to say that while he did call his head coach at Cal, Jeff Tedford, “Coach,” there was a healthy mutual respect in his college situation.
In the pros, Rodgers explained that players call coaches by their first names because “we are professionals. We are both getting paid professionally to do this.” The Packers QB summed up by also saying that respect in the NFL is earned, not “given freely” like it is at the college level.
This is where Meyer runs into problems.
Urban Meyer’s job is safe… for now
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan released a statement following the Urban Meyer scandal that did give the embattled coach a vote of confidence. Per NFL.com, the statement read:
I have addressed this matter with Urban. Specifics of our conversation will be held in confidence. What I will say is his conduct last weekend was inexcusable. I appreciate Urban’s remorse, which I believe is sincere. Now, he must regain our trust and respect. That will require a personal commitment from Urban to everyone who supports, represents or plays for our team. I am confident he will deliver.Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s statement on Urban Meyer scandal
This statement likely means Meyer’s job is safe for the moment. However, there is certainly no guarantee the coach will finish out the season in Jacksonville.
This isn’t the first controversial action from Meyer during his time as the Jags head coach either. Before the season, Meyer hired former Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle, who promptly resigned when accusations of racist behavior came up from his years with the Hawkeyes.
Meyer signed his former Heisman-winning QB, Tim Tebow, as a tight end in what seemed like a publicity stunt after Tebow was one of the first players cut in training camp. He also was the subject of an NFLPA investigation after saying he would cut unvaccinated players.
At some point, the Urban Meyer experience will no longer be worth the hassle for Khan and the Jaguars organization. The longer the zero stays at the front of the team’s record, the quicker that point will come.