Rams bask in Super Bowl win, hope McVay, Donald wants another

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sean McVay looked a lot like someone who had stayed up all night celebrating his first Super Bowl win when the coach showed up early Monday morning to discuss crowning his hometown Rams from Los Angeles.

“It’s an incredible honor to be here,” McVay said, his sandpaper rasp accentuating his sarcasm. “It’s also torture to see a team win a championship and have you come the next morning to a press conference so early.”

With the Rams’ 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, McVay finally reached the culmination of a journey he began in early 2017 as the youngest head coach in modern NFL history. . Just over five years later, the 36-year-old is also the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl – and the trip has left him exhausted, but elated.

McVay said nothing on Monday about possibly quitting football soon, as the burnout-prone coach has suggested when asked about it over the years. But he didn’t look like he was done with a team he had turned into a champion.

“I was surrounded by great people,” McVay said. “When you’re around great players, great coaches who are all committed and working in the same direction, pulling that string in the same direction, good things can happen. When you have the right building blocks…thanks to the success of these guys, other people have the opportunity to grow.

Aaron Donald also reached the peak of his career by making the decisive defensive play in Cincinnati’s latest snap, harassing Joe Burrow in an incomplete fourth to complete a Super Bowl performance that included two sacks. The three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year finally has his first ring – and the 30-year-old star also dodged questions about early retirement immediately after the victory.

Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff says the team will wait until their celebrations are over to understand how serious McVay and Donald are about their life after football, but he’s optimistic they’ll all be both back.

“I think all of these guys are wiped out,” Demoff said. “When you get to that point, the gas tank is empty and you’re sitting there with a trophy. I think it’s daunting to a certain extent when you wake up this morning and realize you have to start all over again. , and you don’t have the energy, so I think the conversation is actually natural.

“And I would agree. I don’t think Sean’s current pace is sustainable in terms of the amount of work he puts in if you want to have a family. But I think there’s one thing, these guys all love football. They love to be around each other. … These are all natural questions that are difficult to answer at the time. A month, two months away from everyone, and I think things will be much better.

Even a Super Bowl championship hasn’t affected Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s career-long reluctance to speak publicly about his many sports teams, but Demoff said the billionaire who built SoFi Stadium was “happier than I’ve ever seen him” after lifting his first Lombardi Trophy. .

“He took the two biggest risks in the NFL that I can think of in the last decade,” Demoff said. “Buying land to build a stadium, hoping for the opportunity to be the Los Angeles Rams again, and hiring a 30-year-old head coach when everyone wanted a big name. Both of these risks culminated last night with an incredible reward.

The Rams have done it all since Kroenke traded them to Los Angeles from his native Missouri six years ago. Landing in a glamorous city that had largely forgotten them, the Rams once again captured everyone’s attention as they developed an appetite for risk and filled their roster with veteran stars.

Many of those stars played key roles in the Rams’ 16th and final win. From Donald and Von Miller to Matthew Stafford and Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles big names figured prominently in the Grand Finals.

“There were so many guys on this team who just respected this game, put in the work and the time,” said Kupp, who looked less annoyed than his boss at being woken up shortly after sunrise. . “It was a huge thing to come. So many guys just said, ‘Hey, we got some guys here who deserve a Super Bowl. We have to win this for them.

It happened one last time in the Super Bowl when Cincinnati scored 17 straight points to take a 20-13 lead minutes into the third quarter. The Rams offense had just three runs on seven straight possessions heading into its last drive — a flawed 15-play, 79-yard masterpiece ending with Kupp’s 1-yard TD catch.

“We talk a lot about just being able to do your job,” Kupp said. “We had a little lull there before halftime and throughout that third quarter. We just needed to keep pushing and keep trusting the details of things.

The Rams continued the party at Disneyland later on Monday, and they will have a victory parade in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Free agency is just four weeks away and the Rams must make decisions on several key players: Miller, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., starting cornerback Darious Williams, offensive linemen Brian Allen and Austin Corbett and defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day. They are also awaiting Andrew Whitworth’s decision on retirement.

But Kupp had a confident response when asked if he thought the Rams could become the NFL’s first team in nearly two decades to repeat.

“Certainly,” he said. “If you go into a season and you don’t think you can win it all, it would be a pretty depressing place to play.”

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