With a massive grin, Sean McVay raised the Lombardi Trophy in the air. The Rams head coach kissed the NFL’s most coveted award, confetti flying around him. Surrounded by some of his players, he had little time with it before he handed it off.
Through the turmoil, trouble and turbulence, the Rams were Super Bowl champions. And considering where McVay has led this team, they’re among next year’s NFL betting favorites to win a championship again.
The Rams’ odds to win Super Bowl 57 a year from now are +1100. The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl odds leaders at +750. The Cincinnati Bengals, who just lost in the title game on Sunday, and Dallas Cowboys are tied for fourth at +1200.
The Rams will maintain their place as one of the top teams in the NFL in large part because of what McVay has done to catapult them from middling to marvelous.
“No question I think that’s as big a part of our success than anything is the camaraderie that exists in the locker room,” McVay said before the Super Bowl. “Guys that care about one another, they play for one another.”
“Aaron! This is the moment!” pic.twitter.com/tIYIQiaG30
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) February 14, 2022
Sean McVay Garners Respect of Players, Coaches
McVay rapidly gained a considerable amount of respect when he earned his role in 2017. His assistants became hot commodities for head coaching gigs elsewhere. That reputation, in part, stems from how he treated others.
Zac Taylor, for example, was the Rams’ quarterbacks coach before taking the head job with the Bengals. Taylor said he jumped at the opportunity to join McVay’s staff.
McVay became the youngest head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl at 36. He did so after consistently adding assistants who elevated the team to championship contention.
“I don’t really look at it as a coaching tree as it is co-workers that worked together and that have gone on to really establish themselves and be really successful,” McVay said. “We poured into one another. I’m too young to be having a coaching tree.”
McVay is younger than Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth, who’s 40, and is barely older than others he coaches.
Rams outside linebacker Von Miller, who joined the team following a midseason trade from the Denver Broncos, called the situation “definitely different.” And yet following an exemplary career and a sudden change of scenery, Miller fit right in with the Rams.
The Rams’ risks, like trading for Miller or sending two first-round picks for quarterback Matthew Stafford, resulted in a Super Bowl. And those talents coalesced thanks to the atmosphere McVay and his staff established.
Miller said McVay brought the best out of him and the other veterans on the team. McVay illustrates his high esteem for his players, which Miller said compelled him to compete at a higher level.
“When it comes to coaching, when it comes to experience, when it comes to the right things to say to a team, getting a team going, you can’t even tell. He seems like he’s about 50 or 60,” Miller said. “When it comes time to talk about football, when it comes time to motivate the guys, it doesn’t matter how old you are. The guys here are experienced. These guys have been around football a long time and know what it takes to win. You can’t really feel an age difference.”
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) February 14, 2022
McVay emphasized making players understand why game plans are formulated the way they are and the exact purpose for their assignments. That way, he hopes, they feel a part of the process.
Stafford said he may disagree with McVay at times. However, they appreciate each other’s position and can work together from those different viewpoints.
Stafford noted how much enjoyment he’s had playing for a team led by McVay. The Rams head coach is smart, yet relatable, Stafford said.
“It’s awesome to be honest with you,” Stafford said. “It’s probably unlike any other relationship I’ve had with a coach. He and I are so close in age, and I have so much respect for how much he sees the game and how he builds his offense. And I feel like he has a lot of respect for my vision and my understanding of the game as well.”
Rams Are in Favorable Position Moving Forward
The Rams almost were Super Bowl champions at the end of the 2018 season. They ultimately fell to the New England Patriots, 13-3.
McVay acknowledged he took “a lot of responsibility” for it. He knew from that experience it wouldn’t be easy to reach that point again.
“I think what you do to get over it is you look at yourself in the mirror, you take accountability and then you keep it moving,” McVay said. “I think as a competitor you have to be able to handle those tough moments, and I’ll never run away from the fact that I didn’t do a good enough job for the team.”
He was right, because the Rams needed to retool. Few players from that team remained to help them win their title this year. Even the coaching staff saw a considerable amount of turnover.
Following these moves, the Rams were fifth in the NFL in total DVOA on defense and eighth on offense. This was possible with some of the best players at their respective positions like wide receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive lineman Aaron Donald.
Next year’s team won’t look exactly like this one, though. Change has become common for LA. Yet what seems to be unwavering is the possibility of the Rams ascending to the NFL’s summit once again.