Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay will celebrate his 33rd birthday Thursday, a birth that coincidentally falls near the biggest sporting event of each year.
This year a 33-year-old McVay will lead the NFC champion Rams into Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Super Bowl LIII against the New England Patriots. Nineteen years ago a 14-year-old McVay watched Super Bowl XXXIV between the then-St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans from a seat in the Georgia Dome.
McVay’s first Super Bowl
McVay was born in Ohio but grew up in Brookhaven, Georgia, where he won a Class AAAA championship in 2003 with the Marist School. The Atlanta suburb is approximately 30 minutes from the stadium.
His grandfather, John McVay, was the San Francisco 49ers general manager in 2000 and set up what became the starting point to a circular life story.
“It’s kind of ironic,” McVay told reporters after the NFC clincher, per the Ventura County Star. “I was at that game. My grandpa, when he was still involved in the NFL, he got me tickets for my birthday. Now we’ll get a chance to go back, (as well as) a lot of people that are very special to the McVay family.”
From Pro Football Talk:
“I was so young at the time, but I remember it was a great game,” McVay said. “I remember, for whatever reason, I really always respected both the offenses. I thought [Titans running back] Eddie George was outstanding. [Titans quarterback] Steve McNair’s ability to create off-schedule. [Titans defensive end] Jevon Kearse, that was his rookie year where he was having a lot of success.
“Then, you look offensively at [Rams quarterback] Kurt Warner and how prolific he was. I can still remember [Rams receiver] Torry Holt catching that slant. [Rams receiver] Isaac Bruce making big plays. [Rams running back] Marshall [Faulk’s] versatility. Just a fan of the game and watching that.”
The Rams won their only Super Bowl when linebacker Mike Jones stopped Titans receiver Kevin Dyson one yard short of the endzone with time expiring.
McVay’s second Super Bowl
McVay will become the youngest coach in Super Bowl history when the teams officially take the field Feb. 3 in Atlanta. If the Rams win he’ll become the youngest coach to win a title, bumping out Mike Tomlin’s 2009 title with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the age of 36.
A lot has changed since McVay’s first trip. His team will play in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Georgia Dome was demolished in 2017.
The Rams are of course now based in Los Angeles.
The Patriots have rattled off nine AFC championships and five Super Bowl titles.
The flashes at kickoff were from disposable cameras you took in to have developed, rather than the immediate joy of smartphones that provide videos and GIFs.
And McVay, at 14 years old, was likely engulfed in Harry Potter books rather than piles of playbooks and film.
The one thing that won’t be different from that Rams victory in 2000 to a potential one in 2019: the jerseys. The Rams are throwing it back.
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