Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and Rams head coach Sean McVay have both had success in the NFL. Gruden is the more veteran of the two, having had two distinct coaching tenures in the league, with a broadcasting career between them. McVay is a newer, more inexperienced coach, but he has already led the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance and is thought of as one of the best young coaches in the league.
The two coaches share a history together, as McVay began his NFL coaching career on Gruden’s staff with the Buccaneers in 2008 — and Gruden had an interesting nickname for the up-and-coming McVay.
How Sean McVay got his start in the NFL
When the popular HBO series Hard Knocks profiled the Raiders in the summer of 2019, Gruden discussed McVay and how he got his start in the NFL.
Gruden recalled McVay wanting to get into the league when the older coach was the head guy in Tampa, so Gruden says they “made him a secretary, really, just to get him in the building. Gruden said McVay started in a similar way that he did in his career, as the “piss boy,” a nickname inspired by a Mel Brooks movie. In an interview with broadcaster Dan Hellie for his podcast, McVay said that movie-inspired nickname was “the nice way of putting it.”
In that interview, McVay gave more details on his introduction to the league. He described having a meeting with Gruden at the combine in Indianapolis, and shortly after he was hired to be the assistant to the quality control coach.
McVay agreed with Gruden’s assessment that the hire was essentially a way to get the eager McVay his first job on an NFL coaching staff.
Sean McVay’s relationship with Jon Gruden
While McVay started out low on the Bucs’ totem pole, he quickly started to rise through the team’s coaching ranks, as Gruden detailed for the reality show. Gruden says McVay started to coach the wide receivers and help come up with game plans on the offensive side of the ball.
According to Gruden, McVay didn’t make a lot of money in that role but it was worth it for him because he got to learn and “got to fast track his coaching career.”
McVay parlayed the learning he got in that early coaching gig into becoming the head coach of a major market team in the Rams, something for which Gruden said he “is proud of him.”
From “piss boy” to the Super Bowl
In 2014, Sean McVay became the offensive coordinator of the team that was then known as the Redskins, and stayed in that role for three seasons before heading across the country in 2017 to become the Rams’ head coach.
McVay was a success from the get-go in Los Angeles, coaching the team to an 11-5 record that first season, then a 13-3 mark in 2018. The Rams won the NFC West both of those seasons. They lost in the Wild Card round that first season, but in McVay’s sophomore season with the Rams they made it all the way to the Super Bowl, which they lost to the Patriots in a defensive battle that ended in a score of 13-3. The team struggled a bit more last season, going 9-7 and missing the playoffs after finishing in third place in the division.
But he has an overall record of 33-15 in the regular season, which is pretty good for someone in his first three seasons as a head coach in the NFL. And McVay will look to expand on that record this season and return to the playoffs with QB Jared Goff continuing to lead the Rams’ offense in a tough division in what is likely to be a strange season in the NFL.