Rams coach Sean McVay is the youngest coach in NFL history and easily the youngest to reach the playoffs, and he got so far, so fast in coaching in part because he never had any illusions about having a future as an NFL player.
In a good look at McVay’s background, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times writes that during his senior year in high school, McVay quarterbacked his team to the state championship and was named 2003 State Player of the Year in Georgia, beating out future Lions All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson. McVay knew then that he wasn’t actually in Johnson’s class as a player.
“That was ridiculous,” McVay said. “He was a five-star recruit, best receiver in the country, and here I am, just a tough competitor that’s on a state championship team. Really what that was is it was a reflection of the team success we had, and then we were able to have some good stats because we won the state championship. But I don’t think anybody would have sat up there and said, ‘We think Sean is a better player than Calvin Johnson.’ It was more of a successful team, so let’s go ahead and give the award to the quarterback.”
That modesty is characteristic of McVay, who typically blames himself when things go wrong for the Rams but is quick to credit others when things go right. He’s been that kind of leader since high school.