While Super Bowl LIII in February may have been a fairly forgettable game for neutral fans, it was the disappointing culmination of an otherwise terrific season for Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay.
The 33-year-old McVay said in a recent Sports Illustrated profile that he couldn’t believe his team lost to the Patriots.
“I was ready to talk a couple of hours after the game,” McVay said. “It would be spurts where [I would] be OK and then it was like, ‘I can’t flippin’ believe that we lost that game!’ ”
McVay says he quickly got past the initial shock but still has some lingering thoughts.
One of his interesting admissions involved preparation. The studious Rams coach acknowledged that he got carried away in the planning stage.
“In the back of my mind, I operated knowing I had another week,” McVay said. “That urgency to completely finalize the game plan wasn’t quite there, and that led to me watching so much film that you can almost water down your thought process.”
The Rams, who averaged 421 yards per game during the regular season, managed just 260 against a stout Patriots defense. In McVay’s mind, part of the problem was that he went too far in his attempt to account for every detail.
“You have so much time that you can overprepare and get away from some of the things that helped you get there,” McVay explained. “I watched every game from New England’s season. You see stuff that worked in, say, Week 3, but you forget about the amount of stuff that’s taken place since Week 3.
“You can watch so much film that you lose perspective. You have 18 games of film you can pore over. And then I even watched the Philly and Atlanta Super Bowls closely.”
Of course, the Patriots also struggled during the game. Neither team was able to gain traction until the fourth quarter, when Tom Brady and the New England offense posted 10 points to ensure a sixth Super Bowl win.
“Brady’s so good it’s scary,” said Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. “He knows what you’re in most of the time, knows where the matchup is, man or zone. We tried to switch it up, and that’s about the only chance you have.”
Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman made an interesting observation about the Patriots’ apparent refusal to change their approach.
Robey-Coleman told SI he was surprised “that they didn’t change anything. We were on everything, there were no trick-’em plays. They were just trying to run their best plays. We were running our best plays.
“That was my first Super Bowl. I would have thought the two weeks [of prep time] would change their game plan, but there were no new wrinkles.”
Hayden Bird can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.