For Sean McVay, 35 is the new 30

Burnout.

It’s a not-uncommon phenomenon for football coaches, especially for those who cook the candle at both ends, and in the middle. For Rams coach Sean McVay, the burnout question has loomed in league circles for a couple of years. Given the fact that Tony Romo makes $1 million per week to call games and that McVay is regarded as the next Jon Gruden, McVay could make as much or more as a broadcaster than he makes as a coach. Some think he’s far closer to doing that than most realize, maybe even more than he realizes.

McVay insists he’s not burning out. Here’s what he told Albert Breer of SI.com on the topic of burnout.

“We’d talked about the burnout and things like that, but I say this, and I really mean it,” McVay said, I feel like I’m 30 years old again in a lot of good ways, because of the people I’m around, because of the place I’m in,” he continued. “And I think it’s going to really help me and help the way I interact with people over the course of the season as well.”

McVay is 35, not 55. The fact that he’s saying that he feels 30 again after only four years as an NFL head coach says plenty about the job.

For now, McVay has good reason to feel rejuvenated. He has rectified the biggest mistake of his career, the massive contract given to quarterback Jared Goff, who ultimately was benched for John Wolford. McVay now has Matthew Stafford, and McVay is excited about it. The Rams are 0-0. This year’s grind has not fully begun.

When it does, will McVay feel 30 or 60? Recently, he flashed uncharacteristic disdain for the media, which dared to accurately regard his gushing over Stafford as a slap at Goff. (It definitely was.) The expectations for the Rams are higher than ever. If, after all, they made it to the final eight with Goff, what’s the ceiling with Stafford? More importantly, what’s the floor?

Whether the 2021 Rams make it to the floor or to the ceiling or somewhere beyond or in between, McVay won’t be feeling like he’s 30 when the season ends. The question for all coaches, and specifically for someone like McVay, is how long to keep pushing and pushing and pushing when, for someone like McVay, a simpler and easier path exists, one that has equal if not better financial rewards — and no wins and losses?