There's an old adage that the NFL stands for "Not For Long" and that may be the case regarding Sean McVay's tenure as the Los Angeles Rams head coach. According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones, the 36-year-old McVay "probably doesn't even know" if he will have the same desire to commit to another season of grinding that comes with being an NFL head coach.
He became the youngest head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl, leading the Rams to a 23-20 win against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI to conclude the 2021 season. He has also led the Rams to four playoff appearances (three NFC West division titles and two Super Bowl appearances), and has compiled a 60-37 record with a game remaining in his sixth season as the Rams head coach. McVay became the youngest head coach in NFL history when Los Angeles hired him at 30 years old in January 2017.
However, the 2022 season has been a slog for McVay and the Rams as their 5-11 record gives them the distinction of the most losses in a season by a defending Super Bowl champion in NFL history, surpassing the 1999 Denver Broncos 6-10 record the year after Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway retired. This season also marks the first with a losing record on McVay's watch. Much of the struggles this season can be explained by injuries as quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and much of the offensive line have missed an inordinate amount of games due to various maladies. Thanks to the injury woes, the 2022 Rams became only the third defending Super Bowl champion ever to start four different quarterbacks, joining the 1986 Chicago Bears and the 1987 New York Giants. Stafford, John Wolford, Bryce Perkins, and Baker Mayfield have all started at quarterback for Los Angeles this season.
Between the Rams' aging roster and one final year missing a first round pick because of the Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff trade, McVay may feel the bird's eye view of life in the NFL as a broadcaster is more comfortable. According to ESPN, Amazon was one of multiple NFL broadcast partners to express interest in hiring the Rams head coach as an analyst. McVay has expressed interest in that line of work at some point down the road, something he reiterated at his press conference on Friday.
"I think it's flattering," Rams head coach Sean McVay said when asked about networks' interest in him as a broadcaster. "I think you said it best, these are always going to be things that you kind of anticipate and expect that are going to come up because I haven't run away from the fact that down the line or whenever that is, that's something that I've been interested in. But kind of like what I was saying earlier, I want to be here right now, focus on that, and that's where I'm at."
Sean McVay addressing the rumors of him potentially retiring to be in broadcasting pic.twitter.com/WDw8oPpfhx— HoldenCantor (@HoldenCantor) January 6, 2023
Given the uncertainty McVay is sorting through right now, here are some reasons why McVay should remain in his current post as the Rams head coach as well as reasons why he should walk away from the grind and head into the more relaxing world of network broadcasting.
Why McVay should stay: The roster
Quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey make up one of the better core groups in the entire league. The 34-year-old Stafford has already said he will return to the Rams in 2023 despite his neck injury, and the 31-year-old Donald said last summer that he will stick around as long as McVay is his head coach. Kupp's 2021 season may be the best single season a receiver has ever had in NFL history, and the 29-year-old was on pace for another huge year prior to needing season-ending ankle surgery. Better injury luck for his stars and offensive line could lead to much improved results in 2023.
Why McVay should go: The roster uncertainty outside of the stars
The 2022 season exposed the largest weakness to the Rams' team-building strategy of paying a bunch of stars big money: a lack of depth along the margins. Injuries exposed how star-reliant they are in the passing game, along the defensive line, and in the secondary. Outside of Kupp, the splash free agent signing of Allen Robinson was a bust in Year 1 of his three-year, $45 million contract, and no one else stepped up in the pass-catching department.
Donald's impact was marginalized as he faced double and triple teams on most plays since Los Angeles failed to fill the void Von Miller's departure to the Buffalo Bills created. The lesser pass rush exposed more holes in the Rams secondary outside of Ramsey since multiple starters from their defensive backfield like John Johnson III and Darious Williams have moved on to other teams on more lucrative contracts. However, the Rams have their second and third round picks in 2023 and will have their first round pick back in 2024. Plenty of teams have re-tooled and reached the postseason after missing it the year prior.
Why McVay should stay: He loves football
Football is in McVay's blood. His grandfather John was the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers for nine seasons from 1983-1990 and also the 1998 season, helping put together rosters that won three Super Bowls during his reign. McVay grew up around the game, and that's all he's wanted to do. If he decides to remain as the Rams head coach, McVay gets to continue living out his dream job.
Why McVay should go: He now has love outside of football
Last summer, McVay married his wife Veronika, and he expressed the desire to be present as a family man. Life as an NFL coach requires sacrificing some of that family time that McVay clearly values.
"I love this [football] so much that it's such a passion, but I also know that what I've seen from some of my closest friends - whether it's coaches or even some of our players," McVay said last February, via USA Today. "[I] want to have a family, and I think being able to find that balance but also be able to give the time necessary. I've always had a dream about being able to be a father, and I can't predict the future, you know? I jokingly say that. I don't really know. I know I love football and I'm so invested in this thing and I'm in the moment right now. But at some point, too, if you said what do you want to be able to do? I want to be able to have a family and I want to be able to spend time with them."
If McVay doesn't think he can balance both -- football and family -- , then it would make sense for him to walk away and moving to a less time-demanding line of work like broadcasting.
Ultimately, he needs to make the decision that provides the most happiness for himself and his family. Given that the NFL offseason doesn't really get going until March, McVay is now on the clock to make a decision that will have a ripple effect on both the future of the Rams and the rest of the NFL.