ATLANTA – Sean McVay still has three more years to do something he was hoping to accomplish on Sunday night: Become the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl.
That’s right. The Rams’ baby-faced leader who fell hard on his sword following a 13-3 loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, can wait until Super Bowl LVI to win his first title and still be younger than Mike Tomlin was when he led the Steelers to a Lombardi Trophy.
And Jared Goff? Well, he got to the Super Bowl faster than any other quarterback taken with the first overall selection in the draft ever did in just his third season. The previous fastest all took four years. Maybe he can tie that.
All of this, in other words, means that the Rams may have been outclassed by the Patriots in this age-before-beauty Super Bowl, but there’s a good chance they’ll be around to stay for the next stanza of NFL history and likely outlast the all-time greats who roughed them up on Sunday.
“We have a great team,” running back Todd Gurley said after the loss. “We have a great leader in Coach. Like I said, we are just starting. When we start back up, just take it one day at a time. Obviously, it's not the outcome we wanted, but we had a hell of a year. NFC champs. We just didn't get the job done."
Even after the throttling, it was the Rams and not the Patriots who could honestly look ahead to a bright future. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were picking confetti from their hair and seeing their reflection in the silver hardware for a sixth time, but at some point it has to end, right? Right?
The Rams, meanwhile, are still new. Maybe too new. They did not look ripe enough to be on this stage on Sunday night, and that’s probably because they weren’t supposed to be. Remember – then again, how could you forget? – that the Rams wouldn’t even have been in this game were it not for the blown pass interference non-call in the NFC Championship against the Saints. Drew Brees and Sean Payton might not have beaten the Patriots in this game, but it’s hard to imagine them looking so overwhelmed.
The Rams were always a wait-‘til-next-year team, even if we wanted to build them up as the present’s best chance to unseat the kings from New England.
So they’ll go back to Los Angeles and do what they did last year. They’ll add more firepower, bring in more talent. They’ll get rid of some veterans, make a few draft picks. They’ll learn and grow from this experience.
And maybe they’ll be back next year to give it another crack.
“All we can do is get better,” two-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald said. “I know that I’m going to get better ... Just have to learn from it, keep working and, like I said, we will be back. We will be back for sure."
Every team in the NFL will be a year older by Super Bowl LIV next year. For teams like the Saints and Patriots who rely on so many veterans at key positions, that’s a bad thing. Their clocks ate ticking, their windows are closing.
For the Rams? Older may suit them better. So long as wiser comes with it.