On December 21, 1969 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, a 33-year-old coach named John Madden led his Oakland Raiders to a 56-7 blowout victory over the Houston Oilers in a first-round playoff game. On that day, Madden became the youngest playoff coach ever.
Forty-eight years later, the 31-year-old Rams coach Sean McVay will break Madden’s record when he leads his team against the Falcons on Saturday.
McVay became the youngest coach in NFL history when the Rams hired him a year ago, so it’s not exactly breaking news that he’s also the youngest playoff coach. McVay was the first person ever to become an NFL head coach before turning 31.
The track record of young coaches before McVay wasn’t great: Of the six youngest men to become NFL head coaches before McVay — Lane Kiffin, Harland Svare, John Michelosen, Raheem Morris, David Shula and Josh McDaniels — none made the playoffs. But McVay is in the postseason in his first year, reaching the playoffs at an earlier age than any coach before him.