With so many teams looking for head coaches this time of year, the Los Angeles Rams are happy they got their guy two years ago, who appears to be one of the best in the business.
The Los Angeles Rams are in a good place. They have clinched a first round bye in the playoffs as the second seed in the NFC and get to take a week to get healthy before hosting a divisional round opponent. Combined with a 13-3 record, it’s hard to be disappointed with the team at this point. The biggest reason for this success? Head coach Sean McVay.
At this point, I need to tell you an embarrassing story; one I’m not proud of.
When the Rams need a new head coach two years ago after firing Jeff Fisher, I was all in on the coaching search. We were in Los Angeles. We didn’t just want to win, we wanted to make a splash hire that would take the league by notice.
My number one candidate? Jon Gruden (I know!). I figured he was an experienced head coach who had built two different teams and won a Super Bowl, he would be ready to come do it again in Hollywood. Boy, was I wrong. Since then, Gruden took the job with the Raiders, who finished 4-12, and made a number of questionable offseason decisions.
My number two choice was Sean Payton (remember there were rumors of the New Orleans Saints being willing to trade him; he is still with the Saints), and third was Kyle Shanhan (who took the job with the 49ers). These other two options don’t look quite as terrible as my number one choice, but still.
My fourth choice was not real clear in my mind, but there was a lot of talk about this McVay kid with the Washington Redskins who had an NFL pedigree. I put him fourth on my mental preferential list of Rams head coach candidates.
The moral of this whole story? You all should be glad I’m not in charge.
Now two season in, McVay looks like one of the top coaches in the NFL. The Rams are 24-8 in his two seasons, tied for first in the NFL in the last two years with the Saints and the New England Patriots. The last time the Rams won 24 games in a two year period? 2000-2001 in the greatest show on turf years.
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The offense has been a complete turnaround. The Rams scored 527 points this season, second most in their history, second only to those 2000 Rams who scored 540. The most points scored in a season during the Fisher era was 348 in 2013 (they scored 224 in his last season with the team).
With 8 NFL head coaches losing their jobs this weekend, so much talk is about finding the “Next McVay.” Some have come close. Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy seems to be a worthy first timer, as does Frank Reich for the Indianapolis Colts.
But in the end, the Rams struck gold with McVay, and indications are that they will be in a good spot for years to come with his intensity on the sidelines.
For now, let’s win that first playoff game.