Just under a year ago, Rams head coach Sean McVay was on top of the world following a Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, as McVay became the youngest coach to win the Super Bowl in NFL history.
Following the game, there were rumors that McVay may retire from coaching and become a commentator for one of the big TV networks, as companies were reportedly offering him a boatload of money to leave the sidelines and become a lead analyst for their respective networks. However, those rumors were shut down in early August, as McVay confirmed that he and the Rams agreed on an extension through 2026 to keep him as the head coach of the team for the foreseeable future.
Fast forward to the end of the 2022-2023 season and the rumors are swirling again, with multiple reports suggesting that Sean McVay is considering stepping away from the Rams head coaching position just months after inking an extension with the team. Following a 5-12 finish and the first losing season as a head coach, McVay is considering hanging it up. After winning a championship, mulling retirement following said championship, then signing an extension, McVay is going to dash out of the door when faced with the first real adversity he has faced since becoming head coach back in 2017? Am I hearing that right?
The idea of McVay leaving this team would not be as ridiculous if he did not sign an extension through 2026, as he is still very young and the idea of winning a title and then getting to make great money for zero stress sounds like a great deal for just about anyone. With that being said, he did agree to that extension, and the fact he may walk away after one bad year says a lot about McVay as a competitor/coach.
Listen, the Rams and their fans will forever be appreciative of what McVay did for the franchise, as he turned one of the laughing stocks of the NFL into a perennial contender the day he walked through that door when he was hired just under six years ago. In his short time, he delivered NFC West titles, NFC championship victories, and a Super Bowl trophy, cementing himself as perhaps the greatest coach in the history of the franchise.
Prior to this season, McVay had a head coaching record of 61-29, leading the Rams to winning seasons in each of his first five years. Then came this season, a season in which L.A. went from Super Bowl champions to a 5-12 team, a far fall from grace for the defending champions. Now, there were a lot of factors that caused the Rams to have such a poor season, with the main problems being very fixable issues like offensive-line play along with some depth concerns on both sides of the ball. Nevertheless, the issues are fixable, especially under a coach like Sean McVay.
If the Rams address these issues in the off-season, they can return in the 2023-2024 league year as the winning franchise that they have been over the last handful of seasons. Season’s like the one the Rams just experienced should light a fire under a coach as great as Sean McVay, with the team falling well short of expectations being the catalyst in lighting that fire. When the going gets tough, the great ones respond and come back better than they were the year before, using the adversity as motivation to return to the greatness they have become accustomed to. Or, so we thought.
Winning is easy to handle, as you simply just smile and continue in your winning ways. The true test of a competitor is how they handle losing and, in the Rams case this season, how they handle themselves when everything seems to go opposite of your favor. If McVay steps away, it will prove that he is not a true competitor and, quite honestly, no longer fit to be a head coach in the NFL.
Now, it is not to say McVay has lost his touch, because it is far from that. Being a head coach in the NFL is much more than just the X’s and O’s, as McVay has proved that he is one of the best in the world when it comes to that. It is more than just motivating and leading men, as McVay has proved he is one of the best at that as well. One of the aspects of being a head coach that often flies under the radar is the immense amount of stress that comes with the job. The job consumes you and becomes your entire life and, for a 36-year old like McVay, that may be too much to handle with so much more to see and experience in life.
The move is not weak in the sense of what it means for Sean McVay the person, as he should do whatever makes himself happy and not have a care in the world for what others think. The move would be weak in the sense of Sean McVay the NFL head coach and Sean McVay the competitor, due to the simple fact that quitting when things get rough is what many like to call a “sore-loser”.
If McVay is not 100% in with the Rams heading into the offseason, which he clearly is not considering the postgame conference following the loss in Seattle, then he needs to step away. The Rams need a coach that is here for the long haul, not this constant rumor mill of will he or won’t he retire on a yearly basis. If McVay does decide to leave, it will put a massive mark on his legacy as a head coach, a legacy that seemed to be headed towards a gold jacket when it was all said and done. Now, we all just wait and see, hoping that Sean McVay decides to finish out his contract with a team/fanbase that loves him for all he has done for the team.