NFL: Brady to McVay: Profile of a Unique Player vs. Coach Matchup

After a wild set of conference championship games that both went to overtime, the Super Bowl matchup is finally set. The New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will do battle in Super Bowl LIII.

The Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the wily veteran is 41-years-old. His rival quarterback Jared Goff of the Rams is only 24-years-old. That 17-year age gap between opposing quarterbacks is the most in Super Bowl history.

On the head coaching side, Sean McVay of the Rams is 33-years-old. His opponent, Bill Belichick, head coach of the Patriots, is 66-years-old. That 33-year age gap between head coaches is also another Super Bowl first. This leaves another unique circumstance. A starting quarterback that is eight years older than the head coach he is playing against. Let’s take a look at the trajectory of both their careers and examine some events that led up to this epic showdown of the ages.

2001

Tom Brady was nowhere near a household name back in 2001. A sixth-round pick out of the University of Michigan in 2000, Brady was brought in as a backup to the established Drew Bledsoe.

At the start of the 2001 season, Bledsoe was already a three-time Pro Bowler and had been to a Super Bowl (losing to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers). During the second game of the 2001 season however Bledsoe was injured, and Brady entered the game for him. Brady led the team all the way to the Super Bowl and never looked back. On his run to winning the Lombardi Trophy he also captured the Super Bowl MVP award in the process. This was the starting point of the Brady/ Belichick Patriots dynasty.

During that same 2001 season, McVay was the sophomore starting quarterback for Marist School right outside of Atlanta, Georgia. While Brady was getting his first taste as a starting quarterback in the NFL, McVay was running the QB option in high school. McVay would go on to wow audiences in Georgia, eventually leading his school to a 4A state championship as a senior. In that campaign he would also earn the Georgia 4A Offensive Player of the Year award.

2007

Brady by 2007 was in the prime of his career with three Super Bowl rings to show for it. At this point, he also had wide receiver Randy Moss as his primary weapon. The Patriots would dominate the 2007 regular season finishing 16-0. Brady would lead the league with 4,806 yards passing and win the 2007 AP MVP award. Unfortunately for him though, he would not complete the perfect season and lose to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII by a score of 17-14.

McVay at this time was a junior wide receiver at Miami University (Ohio). He posted modest numbers that season, 108 yards receiving on 18 receptions. On October 6th, 2007 though his Miami RedHawks would play Kent State University. McVay would cross paths with Julian Edelman, current wide receiver of the Patriots, who at that time was playing quarterback for Kent State. Miami would eventually win that game 20-13 with McVay adding 3 receptions for 37 yards.

2016

Brady led the Patriots to a 14-2 regular season record in 2016. His stellar play got them back to their second Super Bowl in three seasons. Their opponent in Super Bowl LI was the Atlanta Falcons led by the quarterback Matt Ryan, 2016 MVP. During that game the odds seemed stacked against the Patriots as they trailed 28-3 at one point in the third quarterback. Brady never faltered though and led an improbable comeback to win 34-28 in OT. Giving him his fifth Super Bowl title.

McVay spent the 2016 season as the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins. While the team missed the playoffs with an 8-7-1 overall record, there were some positive takeaways for McVay. His offense finished the season second in yards passing with 4,758. And in total yards of offense they finished third overall with 6,454 yards. The offensive consistency of his squad along with his masterful play-calling was enough for the Los Angeles Rams to come calling after a head coaching vacancy came up. Shortly after the season ended McVay was named as the Rams new head coach.

2018

Brady had an up and down 2018 season. But he managed to win when it mattered the most. He would lead the Patriots to an 11-5 record and a two seed in the AFC playoff bracket. Getting them a first-round bye as well. Brady and the Patriots would steam roll their first opponent, the Los Angeles Chargers. But they would have an intense back and forth battle in the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The lead would change hands a number of times, but Brady as he always does would find some late-game heroics. In overtime the Patriots would receive the ball and never look back. They scored a touchdown on their first drive to end the game 37-31 and earn a trip to the Super Bowl.

McVay had an excellent start to the 2018 season going undefeated through the first eight games. He would coach the Rams to a 13-3 finish. They managed to clinch a two seed and a first-round bye in the NFC playoff bracket. Upon beating the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round, he became the youngest coach to win a playoff game at 32-years-old. Then upon defeating the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game, he went on to become the youngest head coach to lead a team to the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl LIII

So, we have Brady with a record setting ninth trip to the Super Bowl. And McVay with a chance to become the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl. Whatever happens in this game, it will be history in the making.

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