History has been made. On January 12, 2017 the Los Angeles Rams hired 30 year old Sean McVay to be their head coach. 30. Three-zero. That’s less than half the age of other NFL coaches Pete Carroll (65), Bill Belicheck (64), and Bruce Arians (64). McVay is the youngest head coach ever hired in the modern NFL era; he’s even younger than one of the Rams players. He’s a *shudder* millennial. Right now, we are going to examine exactly how Sean McVay rose so quickly through the NFL ranks.
An Honorary Gruden?
Jon Gruden breathes football. The former Super Bowl champion coach is now one of the most well respected commentators in the business. His brother Jay Gruden breathes football. Jay is now the head coach for the Washington Redskins. Sean McVay breathes football. He is now the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Right after his college graduation, McVay signed on to be the assistant wide receivers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was hired by – guess who – a Gruden. Jon Gruden to be specific. The next season, McVay moved over to the United Football League, where Jay Gruden was coaching. Fast forward to 2014 and Sean McVay is once again working alongside Jay Gruden. Jay Gruden and Sean McVay were now the head coach and offensive coordinator, respectively, of the Washington Redskins.
So, how has the “Gruden Connection” helped elevate Sean McVay? Well, according to Rams COO Kevin Demoff, McVay reminds him quite a lot of Jon. “There are times when I close my eyes, you hear Jon Gruden — whether it’s the cadence, whether it’s the hand movement,” – from NFL.com. But is that all their is to it? A physical and lingual similarity? They certainly play a role; but like the Gruden’s, Sean McVay operates with the same love and passion for the game of football. McVay owes a lot to the Gruden family. The new Rams coach was first hired by a Gruden, learned from the Grudens, and hopefully for the 30 year old, and for the city of Los Angeles, will win like the Grudens.
Wading On In
What was the first high profile move made by Sean McVay after he became a head coach? Bringing in Wade Phillips as his defensive coordinator. There are very few people who command as much respect in the NFL as Wade Phillips. What a brilliant move. The league’s youngest head coach joining forces with one of the league’s most revered defensive minds. The rest of the NFC West isn’t too thrilled about that combination. McVay also isn’t concerned with having any ridiculously high expectations. When asked about winning a Super Bowl at his introductory press conference, the coach said, “we’re not making any promises, it’s a one day at a time approach.” Rarely in this impatient modern NFL do we see glimpses of this sort of sophisticated understanding.
A New Era
There isn’t much that get’s Rams fans excited anymore. A move to LA? Meh. Promises of winning seasons? Meh. New first overall pick Jared Goff? Meh. A new young, promising head coach? Maybe. Just maybe. Fans are being cautiously optimistic about this new hire, and rightly so. Things haven’t exactly been peachy for the franchise over the last few years. Can Sean McVay be the start of a new era? We’ll just have to wait and see.