Dial-up a dilemma
The 2018 season began with McVay facing lofty expectations. While the mainstream NFL sportswriters have already written off the LA Rams for the foreseeable future, those who follow the Rams understand what went wrong in 2019. Better yet, they see head coach Sean McVay turning the team around in 2020. How can they be so positive? Simply by connecting the dots from the superb finish in 2019.
That is far more similar to the 2018 off-season than we originally considered. After all, the positive momentum from 2017 raised expectations in 2018. Is that any different to a strong finish to 2019 raising hopes for a rebound into 2020? What is the optimistic view of how the LA Rams will finish this season? Perhaps 11-5 and the NFC West crown? Okay, let’s rewind this once more, this time back to the 2018 offseason. Then, the Rams were coming off a good year. And In Steve Rivera’s own words:
"“Moving forward, 11-5 and an NFC West crown will be the expectation.”"
What does that mean for the LA Rams in 2020?
Darlings deliver, but what about underdogs?
Most NFL pundits expected the 2017 LA Rams to finish at 4-12 or 5-11. Instead, the Rams surprised everyone with an 11-5 record. In 2018, many predicted the Rams to finish 11-5 or 12-4, but lose in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Instead, the Rams finished 13-3 and advanced to Super Bowl LIII. Each time, the LA Rams exceeded expectations. But the Rams failed to top their projected record in 2019. Had the team remained healthy, the season may have turned out differently. If kicker Greg Zuerlein had not experienced one of the worst seasons in his career? The Rams would likely have finished 11-5. But the team fell to 9-7 last season.
Now the Rams are once more facing very low expectations from mainstream media, but optimism from those who have remained watchful over their season and roster moves. Which version is more accurate? Either could be correct, as much of an NFL season’s outcome is linked to maintaining a healthy roster, player meeting, or besting their career averages. It’s linked to making game-winning plays when the opportunity occurs and avoiding fatal mistakes. Ultimately, it’s controlling the things the players and coaches can affect, and hoping circumstances beyond the team’s control remain favorable.