The Inside Story of the Rams’ Super Bowl Defense

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Tue May 07, 2019 2:13 pm

The Inside Story of the Rams’ Super Bowl Defense

By ANDY BENOIT May 07, 2019
Encino Hills, Calif. — At 8 p.m. PT, Sean McVay sends one of his trademark no-punctuation texts:

I left front door unlocked when you get here so you don’t have to ring doorbell thanks This way the dog won’t get all excited haha

Despite following McVay’s instructions, Kali—McVay’s and his girlfriend Veronika Khomyn’s one-and-a-half-year-old pitbull, with a heart of gold and manners still a work in progress—greeted me in the kitchen, where I found McVay, in Rams gym clothes, sifting through papers at the island.

“Kali, OFF!” McVay says, just a little too lovingly, as she jumps up on me, putting a paw on each shoulder, as if we were slow-dancing. McVay and I visit at the dining room table for a few minutes before making our way back to his windowless office, just behind the kitchen. (Kali follows us in but, unable to keep to herself, soon gets the boot.)

A big screen hangs on the front wall closest to the door, and on the side walls hang large action-shot photos from McVay’s playing days at Miami (Ohio). Beneath one is a picture of a 22-year-old McVay with Tiger Woods. The whole room is red and white except for an old Rams bobblehead doll in the front corner of McVay’s desk. Opposite the bobblehead is a 2017 Los Angeles Sports Council Coach of the Year trophy; McVay’s 2017 NFL Coach of the Year trophy sits on a shelf in his theater upstairs, with the rest of his memorabilia.

On the floor beside the arm chair, where I sit perpendicular to McVay’s desk, is a large three-ring binder labeled ‘New England Patriots Scouting,’ left over from the Super Bowl—the game that we proceeded to discuss for the next three hours.

Three months ago, the Rams defense produced what could prove to be the most impressive forgotten Super Bowl performance in history. Tom Brady and the Patriots came in averaging 27.3 points a game in the regular season and 39 points a game in the playoffs, and Los Angeles held them to just 13. It wasn’t a perfect outing; the Patriots still moved the ball, including on the ground late. And true to form, there were things McVay thinks can improve, but he acknowledges that “if our defense next year plays like this again, we’re going to win a lot more games than not.”

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Fri May 10, 2019 10:42 am

Mcvay was completely exposed in the Super Bowl. Think about the first super bowls of Belichick, Walsh, Johnson. Given the opportunity the took it and succeeded. McVay will always regret this game no matter what follows. The Rams are the only team in Super Bowl history to give up 13 points and lose. And that, with an "offensive mastermind" as the head coach. He cheat sheeted Goff talking in his ear all year, and when the Patriots took that away, Goff coudln't think or play on his own. He had two weeks to prepare, and came up with the lamest offensive performance of the year and the lamest offensive performance in Super Bowl history. I sat at the Coliseum many times last season and thought, "This is the best team in football." McVay took the best team in football and laid an egg in the biggest game. He's still struggling to understand what happened, still unsure of how to go forward. You can hear it in the interview. Vermeil didn't recover from his Super Bowl loss until after he retired from Burnout. I expect McVays career trajectory to follow Vermeil's. He'll doubt himself and worry about this disaster recurring every snap..

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Sat May 11, 2019 7:43 am

This was a really good article. A lot of insight and I wish we got this kind of info after each game.

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