Should Sean McVay stay or go: Reasons for Rams head coach to return or retire in 2023

There’s an old saying that the NFL stands for “Not For Long,” and that may be the case regarding Sean McVay’s tenure as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jonesthe 36-year-old McVay “probably doesn’t even know” if he’ll have the same desire to commit to another season of grind 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 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI to end 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 one game remaining in his sixth season as Rams head coach. McVay became the youngest head coach in NFL history when Los Angeles hired him at age 30 in January 2017.

However, the 2022 season has been a blow for McVay and the Rams, as their 5-11 record gives them the distinction of having the most losses in a season by a defending Super Bowl champion in NFL history, surpassing the Denver Broncos’ 6-10 record from 1999. 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 attributed to 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 illnesses. Thanks to the injury woes, the 2022 Rams became just the third defending Super Bowl champion ever to start four different quarterbacks, joining the 1986 Chicago Bears and 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 a final year missing a first-round pick due to 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 several NFL broadcast partners that expressed 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 Friday.

“I think it’s flattering,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said when asked about the 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 escaped the fact that there’s something that’s on the line or when it’s I’ve been interested in. But kind of like what I said earlier, I want to be here right now, focus on that, and that’s where I’m at.”

Given the uncertainty McVay is sorting through right now, here are some reasons why McVay should remain in his current position as Rams head coach, as well as reasons why he should step away from the grind and enter the more relaxed world of network broadcasting.

Why McVay should stay: The list

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 the 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 greatest single season ever by a receiver in NFL history, and the 29-year-old was on pace for another big year before requiring season-ending ankle surgery. Better injury luck for his stars and offensive line could lead to much better results in 2023.

Why McVay should go: The roster uncertainty outside of the stars

The 2022 season exposed the biggest weakness of the Rams’ team-building strategy of paying a bunch of stars big money: a lack of depth along the margins. Injuries revealed how star-dependent they are in the passing game, along the defensive line and in the secondary. Outside of Kupp, the free-agent signing of Allen Robinson was a bust in Year 1 of his three-year, $45 million contract, and nobody else stepped up in the pass-catching department.

Donald’s impact was marginalized as he faced double and triple teams in most games since Los Angeles failed to fill the void Von Miller’s departure left for the Buffalo Bills. The smaller pass rush exposed more holes in the Rams secondary outside of Ramsey as several 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 picks back in 2024. Many teams have retooled and reached the postseason after missing it the year before.

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 to assemble rosters that won three Super Bowls during his reign. McVay grew up around the game and it’s all he wanted to do. If he decides to remain as head coach of the Rams, 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 his desire to be present as a family man. Life as an NFL coach requires sacrificing some of the family time that McVay clearly values.

“I love this [football] so much so that it’s 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 to be able to find that balance, but also to be able to give the necessary time. I’ve always had a dream to be able to be a father, and I can’t predict the future, you know? I say that in jest. 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 also, if you said what would you 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 move to a less time-consuming line of work like broadcasting.

In the end, he must make the decision that brings the most happiness for himself and his family. Given that the NFL offseason doesn’t really begin until March, McVay is now on the clock to make a decision that will have ripple effects on both the future of the Rams and the rest of the NFL.

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