The sports world received a generational jolt last week when the NFL welcomed the first “millennial” head coach into its ranks, in the form of soon to be 31-year-old Sean McVay.
Let’s break that down: McVay was born AFTER the days of Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain defense, after “The Catch” by Dwight Clark from Joe Montana, and after the Chicago Bears’ Super Bowl Shuffle. In the NFL, to quote Bob Dylan (he’s a singer, millennial readers), “the times they are a-changing.”
When I heard the news about McVay taking the reins of the Los Angeles Rams, I had, coincidentally, just finished viewing a now-viral interview with British author Simon Sinek painting a grim, unhappy picture of millennials in the workplace. Their discontent, Sinek says, stems from four characteristics: parenting, technology, environment and impatience. Sinek paints millennials as entitled, self-absorbed creatures who have been raised to feel they are special, prefer gratification through social media instead of personal interaction, and quit their jobs in under a year if they don’t feel they are “making a difference.”
Rams fans should hope none of these characteristics apply to McVay, although it could be an interesting season if he coddles his players in the same manner that, as Sinek suggests, millennials were raised. Or if he took the job only to achieve personal fulfillment and is constantly scanning his ever-present cellphone (another millennial trait, according to Sinek) for a better opportunity.
As McVay works to improve the Rams’ dismal 4-12 record, we’ll know if he is a true millennial should any of the following hypotheticals become reality:
McVay’s first fiery pre-game speech
“Gentlemen, there are 60,000 screaming, booze-addled fans out there expecting us to win. But I urge you not to look at the scoreboard. Same goes for my assistant coaches. Why? Because football should be fun! The score is immaterial. If any of you aren’t having fun for even one of the next 60 minutes, simply raise your hand and I will run onto the field with cold towels and Gatorade. Please let me know what color you prefer. Then we’ll work out a solution together. Sure, we may burn all our timeouts in the first five minutes; but if you’re not happy, I’m not happy.”
McVay’s first email to players
TO: All Rams
FROM: Sean (Yes, feel free to address me by my first name)
RE: Training table requests
If any of you are allergic to gluten, soy, dairy, nuts or wheat, please text me immediately. Eventually, your requests will be funneled through the Rams’ snack mom, a position I plan to fill as soon as I hire an offensive coordinator.
McVay’s new training policy
“Effective immediately, no player will be required to walk, jog or run a distance of over one mile on foul weather days. Assistant coaches will be available to drive players to the practice fields.”
McVay’s “No Bullying” rule
“No player will be subject to physical or mental abuse during practice. I can’t say the same for game situations, but I will bring it up to Commissioner Goodell the next time I see him.”
McVay’s post-game press conference
“Yes, we lost 63-0, but this week our Facebook page got 34 new likes and, hold on, let me open the app … 157 new Instagram follows! So, I think we’re moving in the right direction.”
Who knows? Perhaps McVay will turn out to the baddest of the badass coaches, directing his charges with a fury not seen since the days of Mike Ditka and the aforementioned Super Bowl shufflin’ Bears. I’m certainly willing to adopt a wait and see attitude. Until then, I have but one piece of advice for McVay:
If you miss the playoffs next year, do not even THINK of handing out participation trophies.