It already has been quite a year for Sean McVay.
In February, the Rams coach completed a boom-or-bust season by guiding the team to victory in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium — and then turned down broadcasting overtures that reportedly would have paid him $10 million annually.
A few weeks later, in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he began navigating with fiancé Veronika Khomyn the challenges faced by her family members in her war-torn home country.
In April, McVay purchased and moved into a $14 million home in Hidden Hills. In May, he donned Aviator shades and starred in a commercial for the Tom Cruise sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick.”
On Saturday, McVay, 36, will experience another personal milestone when he marries Khomyn.
What’s easier for McVay: Putting together a Super Bowl game plan? Or whittling down a wedding invite list?
“Definitely the first one,” McVay said after practice Wednesday. “Because I have a boss that can override me on the second one.”
But for how long will McVay, only 30 when he was hired in 2017, be wed to the Rams?
Before a new season starts in September, the Rams are expected to announce McVay has signed an extension that will make him one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL.
McVay is believed to have earned about $8.5 million last season. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick reportedly earned more than $12 million, but he also serves as general manager. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll reportedly earned $11 million.
McVay’s regular-season record is 55-26, and twice in his five seasons the Rams reached the Super Bowl.
Former Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula is the NFL’s all-time leader in victories. He amassed 328 regular-season wins and won two Super Bowls in 33 seasons before retiring at age 65 after the 1995 season, according to profootballreference.com.
George Halas won 318 games and six NFL championships in 40 seasons with the Chicago Bears. He retired in 1967 at age 72. Belichick, 70, has 290 victories and six Super Bowl titles in 27 seasons, including his first five with the Cleveland Browns.
Former Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry won 250 games and two Super Bowls in 29 seasons before retiring after the 1988 season at age 64. Andy Reid, 64, has won 233 games and a Super Bowl in 23 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.
Carroll, 70, has won 152 games in 15 seasons with the New York Jets, Patriots and Seahawks. He coached USC for nine seasons before joining the Seahawks in 2010 and leading them to a Super Bowl title in the 2013 season.
“If you said, ‘Do I have a desire to try to chase like Belichick or Don Shula in wins?’ — I really don’t.”
— Rams coach Sean McVay, on his longevity in NFL
McVay has averaged 11 victories per season. At that rate, he would need to coach 25 more seasons to match Shula’s record.
“If you said, ‘Do I have a desire to try to chase like Belichick or Don Shula in wins?’ — I really don’t,” McVay said in an interview after the NFL owners meetings in March.
What about potentially being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
“Hell yeah,” McVay said, adding, “But if you said, ‘Who is the best of all time, or the most successful of all time in terms of longevity … that hasn’t ever been something that really has been appealing to me.”
Questions about McVay’s potential longevity as an NFL coach began in February, a few days before the Super Bowl, when McVay hinted he might not be in it for the long haul.
During a news conference, he went back and forth when asked if he could see himself coaching into his 60s, a la Belichick.
“No chance,” he said initially. “I love this. But if I’m doing it till 60, I won’t make it.”
A reporter followed by asking if McVay, an acknowledged football junkie, really could put aside rallying players and coaches?
“I love this so much, that it’s such a passion,” he said, “But I also know that what I’ve seen from some of my closest friends, whether it’s coaches or even some of our players.”
It’s a balancing act, he acknowledged.
“I’m going to be married this summer,” he said, “want to have a family.”
Speculation about McVay’s future ramped up immediately after the Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, a win that helped McVay erase the sting felt after Belichick schooled him in Super Bowl LIII.
Asked the next morning by Times’ columnist Dylan Hernandez whether he would return to coach the Rams this season, McVay was noncommittal.
“We’ll see,” he said.
Amid the celebration of the Rams’ victory parade two days later, McVay and star defensive lineman Aaron Donald attempted to quell rumors that they might not return to the Rams.
“I’m genuinely interested in doing that. Now, I also know that the things I love the most are the things that you would miss in coaching. But there’s lot … that I won’t miss.”
— Sean McVay, on potential to become a broadcaster post NFL
“There was a part of me that’s like, ‘Man, there’s never going to be a better time to step away,’ ” McVay said after the owners meetings a month later. “But when you really think about like all the people that came as a result of it, I wouldn’t have had the stomach to leave behind a lot of people that I love and care about, even if there was a [lot of] financial rewards and good things that would have come with that.”
“It’s a real grind and the stress of it and the opportunity to leave on top is so intoxicating,” he said. “I know that real well. It can wear you out, wear you down, so I totally understand that.”
McVay was flattered by the possibility of transitioning to broadcasting — and did not rule it out in the future. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported after the Super Bowl that ESPN, Fox and Amazon Prime Video were interested in McVay.
McVay watched mentor Jon Gruden transition from coaching to broadcasting, with phenomenal success.
After Gruden was fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2008 season — McVay’s first in the NFL — the then 45-year-old Gruden began a nine-year run as an analyst on “Monday Night Football” and became a crossover entertainment personality.
Gruden, who had coached 11 seasons in the NFL coach with the Raiders and Buccaneers, returned to the league as the Raiders coach in 2018, reportedly signing a 10-year, $100-million contract, at the time the NFL’s richest.
Now, former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is reportedly set to join Fox as a studio analyst, though it is regarded as a holding pattern until he returns to coaching. Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy are other Super Bowl champion coaches who work in broadcasting. And analysts such as Tony Romo and Troy Aikman are beneficiaries of skyrocketing compensation for top analyst talent.
McVay has enjoyed his limited TV work.
“It’s not like I’m just doing it to stay engaged — I’m genuinely interested in doing that,” he said. “Now, I also know that the things I love the most are the things that you would miss in coaching. But there’s lot of [stuff] that I won’t miss.”
McVay does not want to miss out on starting and enjoying a family.
During the last few months, he has repeatedly lauded Khomyn for the grace and strength with which she has dealt with the situation in Ukraine.
McVay said before the Super Bowl that he “always had a dream about being able to be a father” and wanted to be able to spend time with his wife and children.
Finding a balance is the challenge for a coach who said his “safe space” is when he is on the field or in meeting rooms with players and coaches.
“I’ve reflected enough about it to know myself — like this balance thing in the season, that just will never happen for me,” he said after the owners meetings. “I feel like I’d be cheating the game and cheating the way that I know that I have the work capacity. … And so, it’s a love/hate thing.”
Bengals coach Zac Taylor, 39, worked under McVay with the Rams for two seasons. Taylor, married and the father of four, said that as an NFL coach, “for seven months you disappear, and then as my wife likes to call it, you have the reentry phase.”
But Taylor said the “work-life balance” with family can be navigated so that coaches don’t “miss on those moments” with children.
“Fortunately, in Cincinnati,” he said, “I’m 12 minutes from my house.”
Reid, after nearly a quarter century as a head coach, said that a secret to coaching longevity in the NFL is working with good players, coaches and ownership.
“Ownership I’ve worked for, both of them, have been phenomenal, so they’ve made it as easy on me as they can,” he said. “So, I do what I love to do.”
Carroll said that McVay — whom he described as “a great ball coach” — is entering a phase that he called “the best life yet” off the field, though it is starting “in the middle of everything” as an NFL coach.
“But it’s always in the middle of everything,” Carroll said. “So, I wish him the best.”
Then he paused.
“If he wants to step down,” the NFC West rival added with a laugh, “that’s OK with me.”