Sean McVay has been surrounded by football his entire life. From his grandfather who was an NFL coach and general manager to his father who played at Indiana University to his uncle who currently runs the Outback Bowl, McVay has been swamped in a web of relationships, pseudo-relationships, acquaintances and well-wishers at every point in his professional career.
Having graduated from Miami (Ohio) after playing as a wide receiver, McVay joined the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under former HC Jon Gruden in 2008. McVay’s grandfather worked with Gruden’s father with the San Francisco 49ers. In fact, while both were working in the Niners’ front office, the team was having great on-field success under Head Coach George Seifert thanks largely to Offensive Coordinator Mike Shanahan. Mike’s son, Kyle, would work with Sean McVay before a coaching staff turnover united McVay with Jon Gruden’s brother, now Washington Head Coach Jay Gruden.
It’s that kind of web of relationships that McVay discussed on a podcast hosted by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that helps clarify the degree to which McVay has been raised in and by football.
Schefter peppered McVay with the occasional question about the Rams and the football side of stuff, but most of the discussion was about McVay’s background and the interconnections of the NFL that brought McVay in (and then out and back in) to the league that saw him grow into the youngest head coach in the history of the league.
McVay exhibits some wisdom for his age given his place in the LA, NFL and pop culture exosphere:
SCHEFTER: What’s it like coaching in LA? This is the land of the stars, and you are the youngest NFL head coach ever. Have people begun to recognize you there yet? Have you run into Hollywood stars that want to meet you? What has that been like?
McVAY: It’s been great so far, yanno, because like I tell people, we’re still undefeated. Ask me Week 6, yanno, how I’m doing, and then I’ll be able to give you a better answer.
McVay, even as young as he is for his profession, has been around long enough to know. The results validate everything. You could be one of the most experienced head coaches in NFL history who is one loss away from having the most losses of any head coach ever. I’m talking hypothetically, of course. The results are going to dictate your reception. Or, you could be McVay. Someone who has been groomed for this job, who has a passion for the tutelage required and the relationship development that makes a head coach a head coach and not just a glorified coordinator.
McVay’s got a ton of work to do with the roster he’s been handed. He’ll have the benefit of job security and a long leash to do so. But coming out of that podcast, it’s hard not to see him as a product of his family, of his family’s connections. No doubt he’s the one ultimately responsible for his destiny moving forward.
But it’s hard to hear of the web weaved behind him and not consider him a product of their doing. Now it’s up to McVay to validate his development and make good on his background.
Listening to his interview in the podcast with Schefter, there’s reason to buy into the hope that he will.