The billion-dollar spending spree for NFL TV announcers might continue.
NFL TV partners are again eying Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay as a possible game or studio analyst for the 2023 season, sources told Front Office Sports.
McVay led his Los Angeles Rams to victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022.
But McVay’s 5-11 Rams were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 15 this season: the second-earliest tap-out for a defending Super Bowl champ in 30 years.
The 36-year-old McVay admitted the 2022 season was “humbling” for him and his team. TV is a logical next step if he decides to take a break.
McVay became the youngest head coach in modern NFL history when he was hired at age 30 by the Rams in 2017.
He quickly turned the struggling franchise around. In his relatively brief head coaching career, he led the Rams to two Super Bowls, beating the Bengals last year but losing to Tom Brady’s New England Patriots at Super Bowl LIII in 2019.
But the Rams’ aging stars like quarterback Matthew Stafford and defensive tackle Aaron Donald are recovering from injuries.
“The (Rams) just had an abysmal year. I don’t know how optimistic that team is about the future. It could be an ominous situation,” warned one source. “I would expect networks to call (McVay) and gauge his interest again. I’m sure some already have.”
The source added that networks would roll out the red carpet for him even if McVay wants to take it slow as part of a three-person booth or as a part-time studio analyst.
“A guy like that you find a spot for. Even trial him out. I just know how coveted he was last year.”
Where could McVay land on sports TV?
Start with Fox Sports, which is always in the middle of free-agent TV talks.
If Tom Brady – who signed a 10-year, $375 million deal to become Fox’s No. 1 game analyst – decides to keep playing in 2023, that will open a big fat hole behind No. 1 analyst Greg Olsen.
Fox broadcasts the NFC package. As an NFC coach, McVay knows Fox and vice versa. Fox Sports’ studios are based in the Rams’ home turf of Los Angeles.
Then there’s ESPN, which has a decades-long history of hiring ex-coaches from Rex Ryan and Bill Parcells to college basketball’s Tom Crean and Bob Knight.
And who knows how long Kirk Herbstreit will call “Thursday Night Football” for Amazon Prime Video, given his loaded college football schedule with ESPN’s “College GameDay” and ABC’s “Saturday Night Football.”
TV networks have been interested in the charismatic, eloquent McVay for years.
Last January, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler pinpointed McVay, Sean Payton and Pete Carroll as NFL coaches who could easily transition to TV.
After winning the Lombardi Trophy, NFL media partners like Amazon were interested in hiring McVay this off-season.
According to the New York Post, the young coach reportedly passed on Amazon’s $20 million-a-year offer before returning to the sidelines with the Rams.
McVay tried to put the TV talk to rest by telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter he was not pursuing TV opportunities.
But football coaches are famous for saying one thing and doing another. McVay wouldn’t be the first coach in the prime of his career to give up the coaching headset for broadcasting.
At age 46, Super Bowl-winning Jon Gruden joined ESPN as a game analyst for “Monday Night Football.”
Gruden lasted nine years in the ESPN booth before returning to the NFL, and eventually scandal, as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
The late great John Madden was 43 years old when he retired from the Oakland Raiders only two seasons after winning the Super Bowl. On a lark, Madden joined CBS sports – and became the greatest NFL TV analyst in history.
McVay doesn’t need TV money. He signed a contract extension with the Rams through 2026 that pays him a reported $14 million a year.
That makes him the third-highest-paid coach in U.S. sports, after Bill Belichick of the Patriots ($20 million) and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll ($15 million). But there’s more to life than coaching.
McVay married his longtime fiancee Veronika Khomyn in 2022.
He’s said he wants kids and to find a “balance” between work and family. He doesn’t see himself coaching into his 60’s or 70’s like Belichick and Carroll.
Would a cushy TV gig suit him more than the 24/7 grind of an NFL head coach? We’ll find out.
Your move, Coach.