If Sean McVay wants to catch Bill Belichick, McVay will have a considerable head start

Super Bowl LVI - Head Coach & MVP Press Conference
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Sean McVay has done enough in five years as an NFL head coach to make him one of the best in the league. He has said enough in five months to create an inevitable annual question as to whether any given year will be his last year as coach of the Rams.

Regardless of McVay’s true intentions, he has mused just enough about not coaching over the long haul and/or getting into broadcasting to already make him the head-coach equivalent of Brett Favre.

The centerpiece of the latest remarks from McVay on the issue of longevity became his comment regarding whether he aspires to land atop the all-time wins list.

“If you said, ‘Do I have a desire to try to chase like Belichick or Don Shula in wins?'” McVay told Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. “I really don’t.”

Whether he has that desire to achieve that goal is a different question from whether he eventually will. Although there have been indications that McVay could burn out like Dick Vermeil once did, that was before McVay swapped out Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford at quarterback. With Stafford, life seems to be far less stressful for McVay.

Also, with each passing year, he acquires more experience. While it’s important to stay ahead of the curve, there’s no replacement for knowing what to do and how to do it.

Some reacted to McVay’s remark by ignoring the very real question of whether he’ll choose to keep coaching and by insisting that McVay would never be able to pull it off. But there’s a very important point to keep in mind. McVay is only 36. He already have amassed 55 regular-season wins. Belichick didn’t become a head coach until he was 39. At McVay’s current rate of 11 wins per year, he’ll have 88 in the bank before he’s the same age Belichick was when he first became a head coach.

Throw in the fact that each season now has 17 games, and given the very strong possibility that the season will expand to 18 games, it becomes easier to get at least 10 wins per year.

McVay could even take a four-year break, if he wanted to. Belichick took one involuntarily after being fired by the Browns (Ravens) following the 1995 season.

So the question isn’t whether McVay can catch Belichick. McVay can. The question is whether he wants to.

And while it may be hard for him to envision continuing for another 10, 15, 20 or more years, it may be even harder to actually give up the money, power, and influence that goes with being a successful NFL head coach. While talking about retiring or quitting may be part of his method for processing stress, it’s one thing to talk about walking away. It’s another thing to do it.

How many NFL head coaches have truly walked away on their own terms? Sean Payton. Joe Gibbs, twice. Bill Cowher. Bill Walsh. Shula. Jimmy Johnson. Tony Dungy. Bill Parcells, multiple times. Vermeil. Although I’m probably missing one or two, the vast majority of NFL head coaches stop not because they want to but because they’re told to.

That doesn’t mean McVay won’t walk away. Until he just does it, it’s just talk.

10 responses to “If Sean McVay wants to catch Bill Belichick, McVay will have a considerable head start

  1. Wont happen. It would take a looong time. Belichick needs four seasons to catch Shula for regular season wins.

  2. McVay just wants to be out of LA when the Rams win now/miss management of the draft comes back to roost.

  3. $300+ mil from a network. Without 18 hour work days, and the constant threat of being fired.

    I’m no math major, but that looks like a pretty simple equation.

  4. Even if he wants to chase the record, he would be wise to say that he does not want to chase the record.

  5. Given the lure of TV money with much easier hours and his new marriage, I’ll be surprised if he coaches three more years.

  6. This is hilarious. He’ll be more concened about his beard balms in 5 years than coming anywhere near Belichick’s dynasties.


  7. He has a “head start” in the same way someone would have a head start in a marathon by full-on sprinting from the starting line. It’s a great way to look good in the first part of the race and a terrible way to have any chance to win it. This team isn’t built to last.

    And of course, there’s the reality that he doesn’t have a Brady. The kicked out one young QB and are in the waning stage of Stafford. Without that kind of continuity, catching Belichick or Shula is effectively impossible.

  8. Don Shula did not go out on his own terms. He clearly wanted to continue coaching. They forced him out to get Jimmy Johnson. Still bugs me to this day.

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