Getting a matchup of rookie head coaches making their NFL debuts in Week 1 is rare. Two rookie head coach matchups on kickoff weekend is historic.
The NFL will experience a first in league history in Week 1, as rookie head coaches will be making their debuts on opposing sides in two separate matchups on kickoff weekend for the first time. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles) will be going up against Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons) and Urban Meyer (Jacksonville Jaguars) will square off against David Culley (Houston Texans).
How rare is it for rookie head coaches to square off against each other in Week 1? The occasion has only happened five times in the last 38 years, the last when Bill O'Brien (Texans) defeated Jay Gruden (Washington Football Team) in 2014. Prior to that matchup, Al Groh (New York Jets) defeated Mike Sherman (Green Bay Packers) in 2000.
Dick Jauron (Chicago Bears) defeated Gunther Cunningham (Kansas City Chiefs) in Week 1 of the 1999 season and Dennis Green (Minnesota Vikings) beat Mike Holmgren (Packers) to kick off the 1992 campaign. The only other head coaching matchup between coaching making their league debuts was John Robinson (Los Angeles Rams) defeating Bill Parcells (New York Giants) in 1983.
Seven head coaches will be making their debuts this year, which could be an omen for surprise playoff teams. Over the past four seasons, seven head coaches in their first year with a new club have led their teams to the playoffs -- the latest being Ron Rivera (Washington) and Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns) in 2020.
Sirianni hopes to join that list of coaches later this year. Heading into this week, the Eagles head coach is fulfilling a lifelong dream.
"I come from a coaching family, and it definitely is special to me that it's going to be my first game as a head coach this Sunday," Sirianni said earlier this week. "And I know that's special for my entire family, so I'm really excited about that. Excited for my parents to watch it on TV. I'm excited for my brothers to watch it on TV.
"I'm excited because it's such a family affair. Football has always been a family affair for us...So, that's going to be special because I just know the family interactions that we have...So that's where I think it's really special, just a special thing with my family. But I'm not going to let that moment distract me from what's important. That's just being ready, doing everything I need to do to be ready this week."
Meyer is still trying to get some butterflies out of his stomach, as the Jaguars head coach wants to make sure no stone is unturned in his first game.
"I will get there - all coaches get there and if they tell you they are not then they are probably not being truthful with you," Meyer said Monday. "I am one of those people, if you remember, it's every T crossed, every I dotted and every tip sheet 'why didn't we dot the I on this tip sheet' so instead of players, I drive coaches crazy.
"I just want to make sure those players have a shot."
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