The more that Rams coach Sean McVay talks about his future, the less it seems as if he’ll be coaching the Rams.
His comments from after Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Seahawks were a far cry from “of course I’m coming back.” Meeting with reporters on Monday, there was an even great sense of inevitability that McVay’s sixth season with the Rams will have been his last.
“I told the coaching staff, [we’ll] work through some things,” McVay said, via a transcript circulated by the team. “You don’t want to rush into any sort of decision. There’s a lot of emotion right after the season. There’s a lot of layers to this. There’s a lot of people that it does affect that I don’t take lightly and want to be mindful of and so I’m going to take the next couple days to really be able to kind of reflect. Obviously, a lot of conversations with various people that will dictate and determine the decision that’s best for me, my family, the Rams, and a lot of people and that’s kind of where we’re at with that.”
Although McVay plans to take “the next couple days,” he also made it clear there’s no specific deadline for making a decision.
“I don’t want to put a timeline on it,” McVay said. “I think what I’d like to do is be able to take the appropriate time. [I’ve] never gone through anything like this, but you want to make sure that you’re considerate of the people that are affected. That’s the most important thing. The consistent conversations and dialogues that have existed with the people that I love and really care about, ‘Hey, do what you think is best for you and Veronika.’ But that doesn’t mean it takes away the empathy, the level of responsibility that I do feel for the people that would be affected as it relates to my decision moving forward. And so those are the things that you don’t take lightly. You want to be able to make sure that you’re intentional about taking the appropriate time, while also making a decision in a manner that’s considerate of those people that would be affected.”
Although it’s clear that McVay is being conscientious and thoughtful, it’s also very rare for a coach who’s truly committed to go through such a public process. The mere fact that he’s talking so openly about leaving means he probably should.
Indeed, it seems like he’s ready to go, and that he simply wants to make sure he’s making the right call.
“I’m a very impulsive person and patience is not something that I do have and so [I] probably want to adjust the approach that I’m typically accustomed to taking, especially as it relates to a decision of this magnitude and all the different layers that are involved,” McVay said.
He added that the toughest part of the decision is “the amount of people that are affected and then just being able to identify the things that will give you that clarity and that peace while also continuing to acknowledge the things that need to be addressed as you ‘re trying to become a better and more complete person.”
He also acknowledged that these thoughts have been occurring for him for “a handful of years.” He seems to be concerned that, eventually, he’ll not have “this joy, this zest, this ability to be able to do the things at the level that you know you’re capable of.”
He was asked whether he’s trying to decide whether to not coach “for a short period of time.”
“It could be a possibility,” McVay said. “I don’t want to get too granular with it, but here’s what I would say is this. This has been a lot over the last six years and I wouldn’t change any of it. And as you reflect on how you want to be able to move forward, like the question asked yesterday, ‘Did I ever get the sense where you’re looking at it like this is your last play?’ No, that was never the case. I’m 36 years old, okay? I have endless amounts of energy still. It’s just a matter of how do you make sure that as you move forward, you’re able to do it in the way that’s best for yourself, your wife, your family members, and then when you are in a role of this magnitude , doing it the way that you’re capable of. And that’s what I want to be able to answer yes to, and if you can do those things, I think a lot of clarity will come with that.”
Frankly, that sounds a lot like the theory making the rounds in league circles. After going all in to win a Super Bowl, there’s a significant bill to pay on the back end — a rebuild that may take multiple years. So why not tap out for a year or two, like Sean Payton, and then pick a new team where McVay can lather-rinse-repeat the eff-them-picks approach and win another Super Bowl?
Plenty of people around the league aren’t fans of the approach, because it compromises long-term franchise stability. They also aren’t fans of making private deliberations so public.
Last year, for example, Payton didn’t plan a flag of decision and engage in a public soliloquy. He just left, without warning or notice.
Different strokes for different folks. McVay is choosing to bare his soul, which could make it harder for him to come back — and spark what will definitely be an annual thing until he finally goes.
There’s no time like now to go. The problem is that he blew his chance to make big money working for Amazon by not making the jump in 2022. With no prime broadcast-booth seats open, McVay’s options will include lower-level game analyst gigs or a studio spot — neither of which pay like the prime booth assignments do.
So, yeah, he should have done this a year ago. And he knows it. And he’s surely kicking himself for not doing it when he should have done it. That likely won’t make him come back if he’s inclined to leave, but it adds a very real layer of remorse and regret to the process.
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