- Sean McVay’s innovative offense and success with the Los Angeles Rams has made him the prototype for future head coaches.
- Around the NFL, teams with head-coach openings were looking for the “next Sean McVay” – young coaches who can work with quarterbacks and design effective offenses.
- Many around the NFL joked that the key to getting hired is to know McVay, and two candidates who were hired by teams came from McVay’s coaching tree.
Every NFL team wants the next Sean McVay.
McVay has transformed the Rams in two years into an NFL powerhouse. He is considered one of the best offensive minds in the NFL, likable, and has impressed people with his incredible memory.
The Rams’ quick turnaround and stylish brand of offense have other teams hoping to hire offensive masterminds to steer quick turnarounds.
When eight head coaching jobs opened up this offseason, many of the reported candidates were offensive-minded coaches who could work with quarterbacks and design efficient offenses – a.k.a. McVay types.
Furthermore, some of the candidates came directly from McVay’s coaching tree.
The Ringer’s Kevin Clark made a handy flowchart for how coaching jobs work today.
A handy guide to whether you’ll be getting a head coaching job: pic.twitter.com/tORtXdlvyR
— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) January 7, 2019
Candidate 1: "I've spent the last decade building great defenses."
Candidate 2: "I had a Bud Light Lime with Sean McVay at the NFL combine."
All eight NFL teams with openings: Well, I've heard enough. Let's start talking contract, candidate 2.
— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) January 7, 2019
Through two coaching hires, Clark’s logic seems to follow. The Green Bay Packers hired Matt LaFleur, who was the Rams’ offensive coordinator under McVay in 2017 and left for the Tennessee Titans to call plays in 2018. Now he’ll be calling plays for Aaron Rodgers.
The Arizona Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, who built a reputation at Texas Tech for efficient offenses and building up quarterbacks (namely Patrick Mahomes).
He apparently knows McVay. The Cardinals’ press release announcing Kingsbury’s hire said so! From the release:
“Rams coach Sean McVay – the 32-year-old offensive genius who has become the blueprint of many of the new coaching hires around the NFL – reached out to Kingsbury after Texas Tech let him go to see if Kingsbury wanted to join the Ram’ staff for the stretch run and postseason as an offensive consultant. Kingsbury considered it but ultimately joined USC.
“‘I think he’s been a very good head coach,’ McVay said last week when asked about Kingsbury’s NFL prospects. ‘I think he’s demonstrated the ability to do a lot of different things at a high level, and he’s got a great offensive mind.'”
Plenty of other members of the NFL world have jumped in on the joke.
I made eye contact with sean mcvay outside of a party in houston two years ago. where's my HC offer?
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) January 8, 2019
I once had a beer with him at the combine three years ago. Related, I’m at a presser tomorrow where I’ll be announced as the new OC for the Titans.
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) January 8, 2019
Hearing Sean McVay's neighbor is reaching out to potential coaches to gauge their interest in joining him. stay tuned.
— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) January 9, 2019
So apparently the biggest qualifications for being a head coach in the NFL these days are: know Sean McVay and have coached Patrick Mahomes. And if you have both? HUGE
— trey wingo (@wingoz) January 8, 2019
Jokes aside, it’s clear that there’s a real connection there.
Sean McVay Factor is real real real. First three head coaches hired could be:
Matt LaFleur (39 years old, two years as an OC)
Kliff Kingsbury (39 years old, ex-TT HC, no NFL coaching experience)
Freddie Kitchens (44 years old, 8 games as an OC)
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) January 8, 2019
Wouldn't be surprised if #USC pursues Jedd Fisch for vacant OC/QB coach job. Fisch did a good job improving UCLA's offense significantly after taking over, and has spent this season working with Rams and Sean McVay. Plus, he's worked with OL coach Tim Drevno before at Mich.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 9, 2019
McVay joked when asked about LaFleur’s hire and his influence on the league, “I’m too young to have a coaching tree.”
Of course, McVay didn’t just come out of nowhere. He’s part of the Mike Shanahan coaching tree, which has proven to be just as influential. Before McVay’s success, the NFL was looking for people who worked with Kyle Shanahan after his success as an offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons.
Want to take it a step further? McVay and Shanahan’s coaching trees all fall under another current, prominent head coach’s tree – Jon Gruden!
As The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore pointed out, there is an overlap between the Gruden’s coaching tree and Shanahan’s. McVay served as an assistant on Gruden’s Buccaneers coaching staff. He was also a tight ends coach with the Washington Redskins under Kyle Shanahan and offensive coordinator under Jay Gruden, Jon’s brother.
Connections are important in the NFL. There may not be anyone more important to be connected to that McVay at the moment.
- Read more:
- The Rams spent more than $300 million to follow the newest method of team-building in the NFL, and it worked perfectly
- How the teams in the last 10 Super Bowls acquired their quarterbacks
- 13 celebrities who are rooting for the Rams to win Super Bowl LIII
- Super Bowl MVP odds: Breaking down 15 players chances of being named Super Bowl MVP