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Super Bowl Champion Rams Face Off-Season Questions

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Feb/17/2022

It was a fitting end to the 2021 season, with the Rams winning the Super Bowl, 23-20, in the sixth postseason game to end with a three-point margin of victory. The Rams were the embodiment of the imperfect season, a fourth-seed team with its ups and downs, but ultimately outlasting the 31 other teams.

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Looking to the 2022 season and L.A.’s quest to repeat, the mountain it faces looms larger than the previous three champions. The Patriots still had Tom Brady, the Chiefs returned nearly all of their 22 starters and the Buccaneers did return all 22 of theis, including Brady.

For the Rams, however, turnover may tell the tale.

Sean McVay’s Future

Reports began to surface shortly before the Super Bowl that Rams’ coach Sean McVay might retire from the NFL if he were to win the Lombardi Trophy. McVay has lived and breathed football his entire life, but what makes this most surprising is that it’s only been 36 years.

McVay is the youngest Super Bowl-winning coach in history, and he did say that he will be on the sideline for the Rams next season. However, he also confirmed that family life is something he desires. Due to get married in the coming months, he and his wife want to have children.

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We’ve seen coaches walk away before, then come back after they experience a ‘normal’ life. Dick Vermeil, citing burnout, famously retired from the Eagles in his 40’s, then 16 years later reentered the coaching world and won a Super Bowl with the St. Louis version of the Rams. Joe Gibbs won three Super Bowls in Washington, then retired at just 52. Twelve years later, he came back to D.C., coaching another four seasons.

If McVay decides to step away, it goes without saying it leaves a massive hole for the Rams. Nevertheless, the Rams enter next year in third place on the NFL Super Bowl odds board at +1000 to win Super Bowl LVII.

OC Kevin O’Connell Moving to Minnesota

Now that Rams’ offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell has completed the task in L.A., he’s on his way to Minnesota as the new coach of the Vikings. While it was McVay that called the plays, there was no question that Matthew Stafford’s adjustment to the new offense and Cooper Kupp’s emergence as the best wide receiver in the league were largely because of O’Connell.

O’Connell now gets to see what he can do with Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, as he’s taking passing-game coordinator Wes Phillips with him to be the Vikings' new offensive coordinator.

Entering next season, the Vikings are posted on NFL odds as middle-tier competitors at +3300 to ship the whole thing.

Rams’ defensive-backs coach Ejiro Evero is also leaving to become the new defensive coordinator in Denver.

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Free Agent Players and Retirees

With the mid-season acquisitions of Von Miller and Odell Beckham, Jr., L.A. was all-in this season, and it’s fine to mortgage the future if it does lead to a Super Bowl win.

Miller has said that he has enjoyed his time with the Rams-winning a second ring will do that- and L.A. wants to re-sign him. However, he finished the season strong and had an excellent postseason, so the offseason free-agent market is likely to be a strong one for Miller. If he does end up back with the Rams, he won’t come cheap.

OBJ has also said he wants to return to the Rams, at less money. He tore his ACL in the Super Bowl, the same ligament he tore in 2020 with the Browns. With the beginning of his 2022 season now in doubt, his free-agent market becomes cloudy, as does any team’s desire to sign a soon-to-be 30-year-old coming off multiple knee injuries.

In terms of retirement, he hasn’t said it yet, but it’s likely that left tackle Andrew Whitworth has played his last game. There was also a report that Aaron Donald would consider retirement if the Rams won. Asked about it after the game, all he would say was, “I'm just going to be in the moment and enjoy this.” 

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