In early 2000, a then-14-year-old Sean McVay attended Super Bowl XXXIV. In his hometown of Atlanta. Involving the then-St. Louis Rams, which won the only Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
Nineteen years later, a soon-to-be-33-year-old McVay will return to Atlanta as coach of the now-L.A. Rams, with Super Bowl LIII on the line.
“I was so young at the time, but I remember it was a great game,” McVay told reporters on Monday. “I remember, for whatever reason, I really always respected both the offenses. I thought [Titans running back] Eddie George was outstanding. [Titans quarterback] Steve McNair’s ability to create off-schedule. [Titans defensive end] Jevon Kearse, that was his rookie year where he was having a lot of success.
“Then, you look offensively at [Rams quarterback] Kurt Warner and how prolific he was. I can still remember [Rams receiver] Torry Holt catching that slant. [Rams receiver] Isaac Bruce making big plays. [Rams running back] Marshall [Faulk’s] versatility. Just a fan of the game and watching that.
“I’ll tell you what’s so unique, is you get a chance to be in this role and the exposure that it gets you to people that you have so much respect for. Coach [Dick] Vermeil is a guy that, he texts you after all the games and he’s been so supportive. Watching the way that he connected with those guys and wasn’t afraid to say, ‘I love you’, to these guys. I think those players could feel how much he really cared about them and how much he was invested. You talk about some of the adversity that that team, specifically being our organization, faced early on in the year when no one gave him a chance, but they kept believing. Kurt Warner went on to have such a great season. I also remember it was very icy then, so it was a real problem for us to get there, but it was a great game. My grandpa got us tickets and that was a good birthday present for me.”
So McVay and his legendary memory can rattle off everything that happened in the game that the Rams won when Titans receiver Kevin Dyson was tackled just short of the end zone, right?
“No. No, definitely not,” McVay said, laughing.
Nineteen years from now, chances are that Sean McVay will be able to rattle off everything that will happen in 13 days, when he returns to the new Atlanta stadium built close to the site of the stadium that hosted Super Bowl XXIV.