Sean McVay turned 33 on Thursday and it’s not hard to figure out what the Rams head coach would like for a birthday present. A victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3 will do nicely.
“I’ve never really been a big birthday guy,” McVay said Thursday in Los Angeles. “To be able to be practicing right now is a blessing. It means we’ve made it to the final step and now we have to see if we can finish. We have a great opportunity to have two good weeks of preparation. Today started our first day of that prep. Guys were locked in. A good birthday present would to be take care of business over the next couple of weeks and put ourselves in position to compete to the best of our ability.”
McVay, in his second season as the Rams head coach, is the youngest to guide his team to the Super Bowl. His team held its first full practice on Thursday in preparation for the trip to Atlanta.
“There are a lot of different things that can allow us to be distracted,” McVay said. “But when we go out to practice we’ve got to do a great job locking in and continuing to progressively build until Sunday when we’re kicking off.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is nearly 34 years older than McVay. It’s the largest age difference between opposing head coaches. And while McVay is making his first trip to the Super Bowl, Belichick is making his ninth appearance and seeking his sixth victory.
“It’s a great challenge for our football team because these guys are the epitome of the standard and consistency at which you operate,” McVay said. “His success speaks for itself. I have so much respect for the Patriots’ organization and the way they operate and the way he consistently leads and put his players in positions to have success. It’s an incredible opportunity for us to compete against them. Our players have earned the right to be able to play in this game.”
McVay said he’ll try to keep this week and the days leading up to the Super Bowl as routine as possible. Good luck with that.
“We want to be consistent with our approach,” McVay said. “We’ll treat this week similar to as if we were playing this week then tighten the screws as we get to Atlanta … so the guys feel confident and understand the magnitude of the game.”
“We know that’s it a big-time game. But I think our guys whether they’ve played in this game before or whether they haven’t we expect them to play good football. When that ball is kicked off, it’s like any other game. We don’t shy away from the magnitude. But you’re still playing football.”
McVay played high school football in Atlanta and will have a host of friends at the game.
“There’s people that will able to be at that game that are important to me,” he said, “but this is about the Rams playing in the Super Bowl. We’re going there to try to win a football game.”