Eleven years ago, Sean McVay caught the last of his 39 receptions he hauled in at Miami (OH). On Sunday, February 3, he has the opportunity to become the youngest NFL head coach to win a Super Bowl.
The former RedHawk is only in his second season with the Los Angeles Rams, but the 33-year old already transformed a franchise with 10-straight losing seasons into back-to-back division champions, and more importantly, NFC champions. McVay has compiled a 24-8 record through two seasons in the City of Angels and now is granted with an opportunity to reward the Rams with their second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
McVay’s football career began in Oxford, OH, as a 5’10”, 187-pound receiver at Miami. In three seasons as a RedHawk (2005-07), he finished with 312 receiving yards and 29 rushing yards, peaking as a sophomore with career highs in the receptions and receiving yards departments.
The heart of that Miami team beats strong to this day, but in three time zones to the west. McVay’s Rams staff is equipped with two of his former teammates from the mid-2000s RedHawks. Wide receiver Dustin Woods, Miami’s leading receiver in 2007, landed a position as an assistant strength and conditioning with the Rams.
Chris Shula, a Miami linebacker from 2005-08, currently works as the Rams assistant linebacker coach. The grandson of legendary 2-time Super Bowl champion head coach Don Shula, Chris recorded 144 tackles as a RedHawk before joining McVay’s crew.
The Rams have one other former Miami football player on staff, but he isn’t from the McVay era. Aaron Kromer, offensive line coach and run game coordinator, played offensive tackle in Oxford from 1987-89 and served on Miami’s staff from 1990-98.
Outside of coaches, two former MAC players are set to participate in Super Bowl LIII.
Julian Edelman is no stranger to NFL’s biggest stage. The former Kent State quarterback turned NFL wide receiver is second in league history in postseason receptions and fourth in postseason receiving yards. Edelman, who missed Super Bowl LII due to injury, famously dove for a juggling catch in Super Bowl LI during the Patriots’ game-tying drive versus the Falcons.
At Kent State, Edelman’s Golden Flashes squared off against McVay’s RedHawks multiple times in the MAC East rivalry. The seventh round draft pick from 2009 finished his college career with 4,997 passing yards and 30 touchdown passes before trading in the signal calling for receiver gloves.
For the Rams, JoJo Natson is the lone MAC alum on the roster. The former Utah State wide receiver transferred to Akron, where he played the entirety of the 2016 season. Natson is primarily utilized as a return specialist by the Rams, and he’s fielded a total of four kicks/punts this postseason. At Akron, the 5’8” receiver enjoyed a brilliant senior campaign with career-bests in receiving yards (837) and touchdowns (10).
McVay, Natson, and the Rams’ Miami-heavy staff will face off against Edelman and the Patriots for the Lombardi, a ring, a banner, and legacy-defining moments at 6:30 p.m. ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. Super Bowl LIII is almost here.