Photo: Al Bello (Getty)

As you might expect, Sean McVay has internalized the Rams’ loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl 53. L.A.’s defense put up an all-time performance by limiting Tom Brady and the Pats to a pair of field goals and a touchdown. But the Rams’ offense, which had dazzled the league all season long with all sorts of whizbang schematics? It managed three goddamn points. McVay thinks part of the problem is that he spent too much time chewing on the game tape.

As McVay recently told Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit:

“In the back of my mind, [when making the Super Bowl game plan back in L.A.], I operated knowing I had another week. That urgency to completely finalize the gameplan wasn’t quite there, and that led to me watching so much film that you can almost water down your thought process.”

[...]

“I watched every game from New England’s season. You see stuff that worked in, say, Week 3, but you forget about the amount of stuff that’s taken place since Week 3. You can watch so much film that you lose perspective. You have 18 games of film you can pore over. And then I even watched the Philly and Atlanta Super Bowls closely.”

Bill Belichick has long had a way of melting other coaches’ brains, but McVay’s utter inability to adjust as the game wore on was bracing. The Rams rarely went up-tempo, and they could have used an extra tight end or more spread formations, or thrown more screens to counter the way the Pats stacked the line and used twists and stunts to disguise where their pressure was coming from. It would have meant abandoning much of what the Rams do best. But Belichick has long proven that adaptability is what works best.

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NFL coaches are notorious workaholics, so it’s not surprising—and even somewhat understandable!—for one of them to over-prepare when given an entire extra week to get ready for a game like the Super Bowl. All that tape’s not going to eat itself, you know. For McVay, if not also many others, perhaps a tape diet might be in order.

[Sports Illustrated | Los Angeles Times]