Sean McVay turns 33 years old on Thursday. The Los Angeles Rams coach has come a long way in his young life.
How about a game in which he will match wits with arguably the NFL’s greatest coach, Bill Belichick, who is more than 33 years older than McVay? According to ESPN Stats & Information research, that’s the largest age gap between Super Bowl coaches in history.
With more than a week before these old-timers and young bucks get together in Atlanta, here are some more things to know about this age gap:
McVay was born Jan. 24, 1986. Nineteen days before that, Belichick, the New York Giants' defensive coordinator at the time, was eliminated from the NFC playoffs by the Chicago Bears. The Bears won the Super Bowl two days after McVay was born.
One day after the Goffs celebrated the first birthday of their son, Belichick won the first Super Bowl of his career as part of the Giants' staff. New York defeated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI on Jan. 25, 1987.
Brady was 9 years old at the time, perhaps watching from his childhood home in Northern California.
Goff was born Oct. 14, 1994. One day earlier, Belichick, then the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, had defeated the Houston Oilers. He was in the middle of his only winning season in Cleveland. He was fired the next season.
Fast-forward five years. The week Brady led Michigan to a come-from-behind win over Alabama in the Orange Bowl, Belichick bizarrely resigned as New York Jets head coach. Three weeks later, McVay turned 14. That birthday is important. He's from Atlanta, so the Super Bowl was in his hometown that year. The Greatest Show on Turf St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans in dramatic fashion, with McVay watching.
When McVay & Edelman faced off in college
In 2007, Sean McVay's Miami (OH) team played Julian Edelman's Kent State squad in a tight MAC contest.
“It’s kind of ironic that the only Super Bowl I’ve been to as a fan was when the Rams played the Titans. I was at that game,” McVay said after defeating the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game. “My grandpa, when he was still involved in the NFL, he got me tickets for my birthday.”
Dec. 19, 2003, was a big day for McVay. Playing quarterback for Marist School, he scored a touchdown and won the Georgia Class AAAA state championship. The next day, Brady and Belichick, already together for two seasons, defeated the Jets to finish the regular season 14-2. They went on to win their second Super Bowl together.
Goff was 9 years old at the time, perhaps watching from his childhood home in Northern California.
On Sept. 7, 2013, Goff was 19 and got the first win of his college career. The next day, Brady started the 2013 NFL season with one of his 28 career wins over the Buffalo Bills. Brady was 36 at the time.
Goff and his coach have not had much success against Belichick and Brady. As a 22-year-old rookie, Goff threw for 161 yards and two interceptions in a 26-10 loss at New England. At that time, McVay was the Washington Redskins' offensive coordinator. During his time in Washington, McVay faced New England twice and lost both games.
Although it might not matter in the Super Bowl, McVay has had some success against Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman -- if a 2007 Miami (Ohio) victory over Kent State counts for anything. McVay wasn't coaching, though. A receiver for Miami, he caught three passes for 37 yards. Kent State's quarterback, Edelman, was 19-of-33 and threw two interceptions as McVay's RedHawks won 20-13.
When Belichick was McVay’s age, he was a linebackers coach on Bill Parcells’ staff, coaching two future Hall of Famers in Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor.
When Brady was Goff’s age, he took out a powerhouse to win his first Super Bowl. Interesting coincidence.
But it could be a sad birthday for McVay. Experience often matters when it comes to the Super Bowl.
In those extra years Belichick has on McVay, he saw the United States add two states, the release of 16 James Bond movies, the inauguration of seven U.S. presidents, the entire boxing career of Muhammad Ali and all 755 home runs hit by Hank Aaron.
In the end, on Super Bowl Sunday, age might matter. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Brady and Belichick are the oldest QB-coach duo in Super Bowl history, at 107 combined years, and Goff and McVay are the youngest, at 57 combined years.
So, happy birthday, Sean. You’ve come a long way in 33 years and lived longer than Alexander the Great and many other young conquerors. But none of them had to face Belichick and Brady.
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this story.