L.A. Rams coach Sean McVay turns team around

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Kudos to the Rams’ new coach, Sean McVay: While Vince Lombardi took over a decrepit Green Bay Packers team in 1959 that had gone 1-10-1 in 1958 and built them into the powerhouse team of the ‘60s, his first year’s record was only 7-5, although the next year they did make it to the NFL Championship game with an 8-4 record, losing to Norm van Brocklin’s Philadelphia Eagles, 17-13.

That can’t begin to compare with what McVay has done. Last year the Rams were woeful, only winning 4 of 16 games. McVay has turned them around faster than any coach in history, beefing up the offensive line immeasurably to allow quarterback Jerod Goff the time he needs and to open holes for running back Todd Gurley, and hiring defensive genius Wade Phillips to beef up a pretty good defense to one of the best.

..(Sean) McVay will make the Rams the next dominant team…

As of this writing they are 11-4 and it is not hyperbole to think that they can compete with anyone as the best team in the NFL. My thinking is that McVay will make the Rams the next dominant team, joining Green Bay of the ‘60s, the Steelers of the ‘70s, the 49ers of the ‘80s, and New England of the 21st Century.

How important is a quarterback? One need only look at the San Francisco 49ers to answer this question. A team with one of the worst records in the NFL for the past few years, made one trade, to obtain quarterback Jimmy Garopollo. The 49ers immediately won four games in a row.

In the early 2000s, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin benched Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner so he could play his budding superstar rookie Eli Manning. Warner went to Phoenix and led them to the Super Bowl and eventually admission into the HOF. But Manning won two Super Bowls for Coughlin, so his tough decision turned out right.

New England coach Bill Belichick had a startlingly similar decision: stick with 40-year-old Tom Brady, who is still probably the best quarterback in football, or keep 26-year-old Garapollo who could be Brady’s equal for the next 10-15 years? Belichick punted and dumped the kid to keep the old man. He, and New England fans, might rue the day.

Awful game: Maybe there has been an NFL game between two relatively competent teams with worse quarterback play than Monday’s game between Oakland and Philadelphia, but I can’t remember it. It’s hard to believe that people thought that Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was a budding star off of this miserable performance, which explains why the Raiders have had such a dismal season.

But it wasn’t much different on the other side. Nick Foles, who has played for innumerable teams recently was just as bad. In fact, the quarterbacks together completed only half their passes and many of those were short screens and swing passes that even I could complete.

The result was one of the worst games of the year, not a shining example for the NFL’s two games on Christmas, considering that the other was a blowout by Pittsburgh over an inept Houston team.

Just reward: The Cincinnati Bengals are struggling through their worst season in recent memory. Even though they beat Detroit on Sunday, they won’t make the playoffs for the first time in six years, breaking a team record streak of five in a row. This couldn’t happen to a more deserving team considering that they were the only team interested in drafting the thug Joe Mixon, who was shunned by most NFL teams after the 228 pound running back slugged an approximately 110 lb. woman, breaking her jaw, for no reason whatsoever. Mixon gained 12 yards in the game against the Lions. Karma in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, states that the quality of somebody’s current and future lives are determined by that person’s behavior in this and in previous lives. I can’t speak for Mixon’s previous life, but he definitely brought his bad karma in this life to Cincinnati.

Two great commercials:

  1. The NFL apparel commercial about the guy whose wife tells him he can’t wear his Raiders’ jersey to her family’s holiday meal, but he does anyway and everyone in her family is wearing Kansas City Chiefs’ jerseys.
  2. The Bud Light “dilly dilly” commercials, especially the first one where the guy who brings “a spice honey mead wine that I’ve really been into lately,” instead of Bud Light and is directed to Brad to be given a tour of the “pit of misery.”

Tony Medley is the author of three books including “UCLA Basketball: The Real Story,” the first book written on UCLA basketball. Visit TonyMedley.com.

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