We’re currently in one of the slower news cycles of the NFL offseason but, admittedly, the #content must go on. As such, Sporting News recently put out head coach rankings ahead of the 2019 offseason.
I could’ve opted to ignore these rankings that were likely created to stir up conversation and generate #clicks. But here I am, feeding the machine. I’ve failed you all.
In fairness to myself, I was basically baited into writing a post about these rankings. “Doug Pederson > Sean McVay” is part of my brand. So it’s hard for me not to react when I see McVay ranked as THE SECOND BEST HEAD COACH IN THE LEAGUE (?!) while Pederson finishes SEVENTH overall.
1⃣ Bill Belichick— Sporting News (@sportingnews) May 21, 2019
2⃣ Sean McVay
3⃣ Sean Payton
4⃣ Andy Reid
5⃣ Pete Carroll
6⃣ John Harbaugh
7⃣ Doug Pederson
8⃣ Mike Tomlin
9⃣ Anthony Lynn
SN's 2019 NFL coach rankings https://t.co/YkDXdKnxsz
To be clear, I’m not trying to say McVay is a horrible coach. The 33-year-old is 26-10 with a Super Bowl appearance in his first two years on the job. He deserves to be in the top 10.
Ranking him No. 2 overall is laughable, though. And it’s not like this Sporting News post represents a minority opinion.
Just look at the NFL’s head coach hiring cycle earlier this year. Teams were doing anything they could to hire a coach who had some kind of connection to McVay. The Cardinals literally bragged about how new Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury is friends with McVay. And the Cards coined McVay — the coach of a divison rival — a “genius”!
The Cardinals press release announcing Kingsbury made sure to include that he’s friends with Sean McVay. pic.twitter.com/oEqGfkgWdT— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) January 8, 2019
The McVay love-fest only intensified with the Rams making it to the Super Bowl this year. National NFL writers spent a lot of time slobbering over their favorite boy genius.
Of course, it didn’t take long for those columns anointing McVay as the next best thing to look silly. I enjoyed being able to write this after the Rams’ embarrassing Super Bowl loss:
Sean McVay is a fraud. Offensive genius my ass. No other team in Super Bowl history has only managed to score three points. I’ve been saying forever now that it was such a joke that he won Coach of the Year over Doug Pederson in 2017. The voters continue to look really, really foolish on that one. Pederson is 2-0 against McVay. Pederson also scored 41 points in a Super Bowl WIN over the Patriots. A big reason why the Eagles were able to beat the Pats is because Pederson was truly fearless. McVay, on the other hand, was a coward in this game. He opted to punt on 4th-and-3 in Patriots territory. He ran a coward’s draw on a 3rd-and-long before punting the ball to the Patriots, who then scored their only touchdown of the game. The truth is McVay didn’t even deserve to be in the Super Bowl. His incredibly weak decision to kick a red zone field goal against the Saints in the 2019 NFC Championship Game was bailed out by one of the worst missed calls in the history of the NFL playoffs. Thankfully, the Football Gods decided it was time to stop rewarding McVay’s cowardice on the biggest stage of the season.
And yet, as Sporting News’ rankings indicate, McVay’s horrible Super Bowl showing somehow isn’t being held against him. The national media let him off easy. Some good points here by friend of BGN, Noah Becker:
Rams were one of the NFL's healthiest teams for the 3rd straight season and I truly believe that if the Super Bowl had gone on for another quarter or two, they would've gotten to 300 yards of total offense.— Noah Becker (@Noah_Becker) March 8, 2019
Brady was 21/35 262-0-1 and the Rams still lost by 2 scores. That's amazing offensive incompetence. Will it ever be discussed? If Doug had put up that performance in Super Bowl LII, Mike Lombardi would've thrown himself a parade down Broad Street.— Noah Becker (@Noah_Becker) March 8, 2019
That last point is one of the biggest things that bothers me with the McVay hype. There’s a double standard here and I really feel like McVay’s unwarranted praise comes at the expense of Pederson.
Again, I’m not trying to sell McVay short. He’s done a good job so far. But it’s also not like he’s had to face a lot of adversity. In terms of Adjusted Games Lost (AGL), the Rams finished as THE healthiest team in 2017 and fourth healthiest in 2018. Contrast that with Pederson’s Eagles, who finished 13th and 31st, respectively. And those Eagles injuries including losing a starting quarterback — an NFL MVP caliber player in Carson Wentz — and still winning a Super Bowl title with a backup signal caller.
The fact of the matter is that McVay just doesn’t stack up to Pederson. This shouldn’t be so difficult to see. Pederson is 2-0 against McVay. Pederson’s offense scored 41 points in a Super Bowl WIN over the Patriots while McVay’s offense scored 3 points in a Super Bowl LOSS to the Patriots.
The world would be a better place if people could stop overrating McVay and underrating Dougie P.
At least Eagles fans know what’s up: