Belichick, McVay to match wits on Sunday

ATLANTA – Bummer.

Maroon 5 backed out of doing the annual Super Bowl halftime entertainment press conference this week, something to do with all the Colin Kaepernick never ending controversies.

That’s OK. They wouldn’t have been on par with Madonna, Lady Gaga, etc. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was bobbing and weaving with his usual doublespeak early afternoon Wednesday around the New Orleans Saints/Los Angeles Rams blown non-call. Nah, been there, done that with Goodell, all the way back to DeflateGate. Zzzzzzz.

But we found someone waaay more hip than any Super Bowl entertainment group to listen to.

Try Rams head coach Sean McVay. Patriot fans, sure, you have Bill Belichick and all his success, but you have no idea what you’re missing. At 33, McVay was built for this. He certainly woke up a bunch of groggy scribes Wednesday morning.

It’s easy to see why the Rams are here, or have had two strong years under McVay, rather than that first season in L.A. under snoozefest Jeff Fisher.

There is a little Belichick in him; after all, he is a head coach. He talked about his analytics crew. “When they start using all these fancy terms,’ he said, “Just talk to me in plain English.'”

Gotta love it.

“Everything goes back to the relationships,” he said. “That’s the foundation of everything we do. You want to feel like you’re a part of something bigger than themselves. When they do feel that their opinions matter. … It’s not necessarily who’s right but what’s right.”

In New England, we know there’s only one opinion that matters. Wow, there hasn’t been a coach to the other extreme from Belichick in a Super Bowl since Pete Carroll back in February 2015. It’s too bad they don’t hold the dual coaches press conference on Fridays anymore; with McVay it would’ve been a treat.

“I don’t care whether it’s players or coaches, they keep me humble, too,” McVay said.

Yikes. In PatriotLand, it’s usually the other way around, right?

Rams receiver Brandin Cooks spent a year under the Patriot reign and still seems uptight from it. He wouldn’t talk about the difference between his two head coaches of the last two years, but as for McVay, he said, “He’s awesome, the energy he brings to the team, how smart he is. He’s a special guy. You talk about a guy who goes to practice with the energy of a player. You’ve got to appreciate that. He might as well put pads on and run around with us the way he gets going. … I think that’s just his personality.”

This is a guy who is younger than some of his players. Heck, his defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, is 71 (but ageless). One of his offensive linemen, Andrew Whitworth, is the oldest O-lineman in the NFL 37. Go figure.

“Every now and then, I like to give (McVay) a hard time because I’m older and I can do that,” Whitworth said. “I get to pull the elder card on him. …

“Every once in a while, he gets a little caught up in his swag and his confidence and stuff, so I have to kind of bring him down a little bit. He likes his hair, and how he dresses.”

Whitworth even went so far as to say he calls his coach “Zack Morris,” the character in the one-time goofy TV show “Saved By The Bell”. Some of the players were too young to get it, but Whitworth said McVay did.

Too funny. Can you see this in Foxborough?

This is McVay’s first Super Bowl, too, so he’s going through the same thing some players are. But how many coaches talk about his Mom and Dad (McVay’s father Tim was a start at Indiana) helping him out during Super Bowl week?

“I think my parents protected me from (family requests), so it doesn’t annoy me,” McVay said. “But know this: If you’re last name’s McVay, you’re going to be here. I’m sure my parents found a way to get a couple of extra tickets, and sometimes they protect me from those things, which is a good thing.”

How many head coaches in the NFL talk about their “grandpa?” McVay’s grandfather was partly responsible for a lot of the success that the San Francisco 49er teams had several years ago.

“I remember what my grandpa said,” McVay said. “Why do they think they were able to sustain a level of success with the 49ers organization for so long, and he said ‘Because our best players were the example of what it looked like to be right and the rest were out of alignment, because that was the standard and nobody was above that.’ Now I really feel vulnerable.”

Laughter. McVay had an answer for everything, even the trainer, and in-depth. Too bad his talents are out in L.A., where no one really cares about pro football. But in many ways, you’d probably say he is very much L.A. He talked about how some players challenge him with questions “and you better have the answers.”

He likes sayings. “I’m probably breaking a trademark,” he said. “Somebody else has ‘We not Me,’ I’ll probably get sued. But words are words, you really have to live them.”

Just a different world, isn’t it. But McVay makes every word count.

“I think I was 32 when I was a coordinator,” Phillips said. “But he’s really come through. Way beyond his years.

“He’s special. Special head coach.”

Probably way better to listen to than Maroon Five.