But has Meyer gotten a fair shake from the NFL media before the season even started? Former NFL and Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn says no.
Quinn, Jonas Knox, and LaVar Arrington discussed the reported leaks coming out of the Jaguars organization and the ongoing issues surrounding Meyer in Monday’s 2 Pros and a Cup of Joe. Quinn makes the case that while some of these leaks and issues are real, Meyer was always doomed to get negative press from a member group that wanted to see him fail.
🎙️@Brady_Quinn: "The media never gave him a chance, and then now you've got coaches trying to go for a life vest and they're trying to jump off this ship, and they're trying to save themselves, and that's how this stuff gets leaked out like that."https://t.co/DINZhfehX5
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) December 13, 2021
“Are there potential leaks coming out of Jacksonville? Probably,” said Quinn. “That’s how this stuff gets out. But there’s also been people who have been angling or trying to take shots or basically put out this story that it’s not gonna work since day one. Since Urban Meyer got there. I mean that’s my issue with all of this. The media never gave Urban Meyer a chance. And from the get-go, it starts with the fact that a lot of the media members who have no relationship with Urban Meyer or any other college coach for that matter hate the fact that they would have to, one, develop a relationship with someone new again, and two, I feel like there’s this sentiment that college and NFL, it’s like the minor leagues and big leagues.
“So when you have a coach that comes up, like a Kliff Kingsbury, who’s done so much and been so successful and gotten better every single year, the media at the NFL level hates to admit it. Cause they don’t like to admit the fact that that can be done. It’s almost like ‘oh, so maybe a college writer can come up to the NFL ranks and take over that senior position job for whoever it is. There’s almost this sense of, ‘well, we’re the big leagues and you can’t just come up here and be successful. You can’t make your way work up here, that’s not how this whole thing works. And it seems like at every single chance, instead of hearing them out or waiting to see how it looks, they’re trying to push him out before he’s even been given a chance.
“So I feel like the media has had it out for him in the first place. I know people who are personally and emotionally frustrated with the fact they haven’t gotten as much access in Jacksonville. And people who have worked in that market for a long time and haven’t got access to him. So now they have an ax to grind. And that’s how they’ve handled things in Jacksonville, purely because they haven’t gotten a sit-down or they haven’t gotten time with him. Like, think about how catty that is. But that’s how the media is now. Like, they use the power of the pen basically like a vendetta just because their personal feelings are hurt instead of being professional about it.
“What I hate about this is two things. The media never gave him a chance, and then now you’ve got coaches trying to go for a life vest and they’re trying to jump off this ship, and they’re trying to save themselves, and that’s how this stuff gets leaked out like that. That’s why you’re hearing about it right now.”
Arrington followed up Quinn’s comments by noting that Meyer is dealing with the fact that he simply doesn’t have the ability to control the narrative the way he did when he worked in college football.
“In college ball, they would sit in that team meeting room, lock the doors, “These are all the people that were in here when this was said,” said Arrington. “We’re not leaving here until we know who [leaked] it.’… Once you get to the pros, you don’t have that type of control. You can’t control the players that way, the coaches or other staff members, you can’t control what they do or what they say, because it’s the pro level. Now, they have a voice just like you have a voice. They make more money than you make. They have more influence than you have most of the time, so you can’t approach it that way. Where we stand right now is, Urban Meyer is at a crossroads of sorts already in his early career as a head coach in the pros, and that is understanding the rules of engagement of how people will use self-preservation in the best interest of their own agendas.”
Quinn may have a point that a lot of people wanted to see Meyer fail because of his reputation or the way he handled things at Ohio State or any number of reasons. But it also feels like Brady protests too much too, especially with his college-to-pros analogy. While there is this notion that star college coaches come to the NFL and fail, there are just as many examples of coaches who excelled doing that as well (Jim Harbaugh, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Pete Carroll). Quinn is cherry-picking that narrative in the same way he’s accusing other media members of working against Meyer. And this idea that Kliff Kingsbury isn’t getting media attention in spite of making the Arizona Cardinals a Super Bowl favorite is absurd.
Meyer has been dinged publicly for a lack of availability at times but we’ve seen NFL media members call out many coaches for doing that, not just him.
And at the end of the day, the NFL media didn’t make Meyer stay in that bar and get caught dancing with a young woman instead of taking the team flight back to Florida. NFL media doesn’t make Meyer say things that make it seem like he doesn’t know what’s going on. Had that been any NFL coach, it would have been a massive story, regardless of where they came from.
While you can make a case that Urban isn’t a very well-liked person based on his history, you can’t deny that he plays a major role in the stories being told about him this year. And chances are, if Meyer were someone who was respected and liked within his organization, this recent spate of leaks wouldn’t be happening either.
Meyer may not be at fault for everything going wrong in Jacksonville, but he’s way more responsible than any member of the media.