Sometimes less is more. Just ask Sean McVay.
McVay’s billing as the NFL’s next great head coach only was strengthened by leading the Rams to the Super Bowl in just his second season calling the shots in Los Angeles. Unfortunately for McVay, he ran into arguably the greatest football coach of all time in Bill Belichick, whose New England Patriots gutted out their sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history.
Following a loss on the championship stage, it’s only human nature to look back and think about what you could have done differently in hopes of producing a different outcome. For McVay, one of his biggest mistakes, in hindsight, occurred well before the opening kickoff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“In the back of my mind, [when making the Super Bowl game plan back in L.A.], I operated knowing I had another week,” McVay told Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit. “That urgency to completely finalize the gameplan wasn’t quite there, and that led to me watching so much film that you can almost water down your thought process.”
McVay continued: “You have so much time that you can overprepare and get away from some of the things that helped you get there. I watched every game from New England’s season. You see stuff that worked in, say, Week 3, but you forget about the amount of stuff that’s taken place since Week 3. You can watch so much film that you lose perspective. You have 18 games of film you can pore over. And then I even watched the Philly and Atlanta Super Bowls closely.”
It’s tough to blame McVay for his approach. You obviously want to leave no stone unturned while preparing for a Super Bowl, and it’s probably easy to get a little carried away when crafting a gameplan against a coaching titan like Belichick. But as we saw with Doug Pederson and the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, sometimes the best route is sticking to your guns and letting it all hang out.
One has to imagine Super Sunday hasn’t seen the last of McVay, who is poised for sustained success with the Rams. While the sting of the loss against the Patriots might never go away, McVay can use the defeat as a lesson learned moving forward.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images