The Los Angeles Rams pushed all the chips to the center of the table in attempt to win the franchise’s second Super Bowl. So far so good, as LA has earned the right to battle the Cincinnati Bengals for the greatest prize in the sport. Head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead have been here before, facing off against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 53. Unfortunately, the offense sputtered, only managing to score a field goal. In an effort to upgrade the quarterback position and get the offense over the hump, Snead and McVay orchestrated a trade with the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford.
"I was excited about the opportunity to come to Los Angeles."— NFL (@NFL) February 7, 2022
Matthew Stafford reflects on the offseason trade that landed him on the @RamsNFL.
: #SBOpeningNight live on NFL Twitter pic.twitter.com/k94160ZW9G
Stafford, McVay, and Snead are now linked together as a package deal for the foreseeable future. What would winning a Super Bowl in their first year together mean for each of their legacies?
A Rams win on Sunday all but punches Stafford’s ticket to Canton. In one season, the former University of Georgia Bulldog can change the narrative from him being “unable to win a big game” to a virtual lock for the Hall of Fame. He already has the statistics with 49,995 passing yards and 323 passing touchdowns. According to NFL.com, all other Hall of Fame eligible quarterbacks who have reached those numbers already rock a gold jacket.
He’ll certainly have some elite competition, with Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger (possibly Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers) likely already in the Hall of Fame before Stafford even retires. If he plays for at least another five seasons as he said he’d like to, and he continues to put up big numbers in the air as he has done his entire career, there is good reason to estimate his statistics will rival some of the best to have ever played.
Matthew Stafford’s first year in LA has been dominant pic.twitter.com/kwRfaSvi4t— PFF (@PFF) February 7, 2022
A Super Bowl 56 win would put him over the top and serve as one hell of a potential tie breaker when it comes to the H.O.F. voters.
For McVay, a Super Bowl 56 victory keeps him on track to chase Don Shula’s record of 328 career wins, though it’s likely to be broken by Bill Belichick first. Yes, McVay obviously has a long way to go and a win this Sunday doesn’t etch anything in stone for the youngest head coach in the league.
Crazy fact about this #Rams team.— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerrCBS) February 8, 2022
As of July 2021, Los Angeles was the youngest team in the #NFL -- 26.35 years.
Sean McVay is also the youngest coach to make two Super Bowls (36 years, 20 days).
This "win-now" team may be around a while. #RamsHouse pic.twitter.com/eYjcZ3oWty
However, the fact that McVay was hired at only 30 years old bodes well for his coaching longevity. A patient owner will also help afford him the necessary time required to chase the record right from the home sideline of SoFi Stadium. Stan Kroenke allowed Jeff Fisher to “lead” the Rams to a 31-45-1 record in just under five seasons, even signing him to an extension. Do you think he wouldn’t give McVay the benefit of the doubt if the Rams were to hit a rough patch, especially with a Super Bowl win in his back pocket?
Aaron Donald on Sean McVay:— Sosa Kremenjas (@QBsMVP) February 8, 2022
"When I first sat down and was going through my contract things, I said as long as he's [Sean McVay] the head coach, I wanna be a part of this organization, I wanna help build a legacy with him."
With his .667 winning percentage, his average of 11 wins per year, and a 17-game season to help him rack up the wins that much quicker, McVay has a real shot at going down as an all-time great by the time he hangs up his headset.
A Super Bowl win for Snead legitimatizes the Rams way of building a team. There will be no more talk of how Los Angeles chooses to mortgage their future. Snead has already guided the organization through the repercussions of jettisoning three massive contracts in Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and Brandin Cooks before they really got going. The Rams are burdened with over $45 million in dead money this season but are starting to see the financial light at the end of the tunnel around the same time that they gaze upon the shine of a potential Super Bowl ring.
As GM of the LA Rams, Les Snead wears many hats. But his superpower is knowing how, and when, to wear those hats backwards. I've seen him pivot on a dime from scientist to artist, arsonist to fireman, teacher to student, recluse to showman.— Sam Walker (@SamWalkers) February 7, 2022
He's his own oppositional twin. pic.twitter.com/GZYRkvrA2P
While it is unlikely most general managers will have the stones to consistently trade away first round picks at the same pace as LA, the strategy is likely to gain at least a thorough analysis. Expect more owners to pick from Snead’s personnel and scouting teams, similar to how teams snatch up most of McVay’s coordinators. As that happens, the Rams aggressive way of creating a roster is likely to seep into other teams’ DNA, as Snead’s assistants take jobs across the NFL.
Do what with those picks?