‘It Was Like a Metallica Concert:’ Sean McVay Recalls His Loudest Game

Sean McVay

Getty Sean McVay celebrates winning the NFC title with Gerald Everrett after the Rams' 26-23 overtime win over the Saints, which McVay said was the loudest game he's ever coached in.

Sean McVay has prepared the Los Angeles Rams in loud venues before, regardless if his team had to deal with Seattle’s “12th Man” fans once a year or Oakland’s “Black Hole” to kick off the 2018 season.

But in the latest episode of his “Flying Coach” podcast alongside Peter Schrager, the fifth-year Rams head coach was asked via fan mail on how he gets his teams to counter loud noises and what in-game adjustments are made on the fly. The fan, mentioned as Frank from Chicago, also shared how he attended the Rams’ 2019 NFC title game at New Orleans won by L.A. on an overtime field goal.

McVay helped answer the fan question by tracing back to that conference championship game played in front of a sold out Superdome.

“By far, the loudest game I ever coached in,” McVay remembered.

McVay knew that the Saint fan base came equipped with loud vocal chords. He tried to downplay the noise decibels, yet entered the title game expecting anything but a quiet afternoon indoors.

“It’s funny, we had played at New Orleans earlier in the year and so we figured, it was an unbelievable atmosphere but we still had the ability to communicate and get some of our longer intricate play calls and didn’t ever really feel like it was too much of an issue,” McVay said. “Still operating on your silent count, different things like that. Maybe you can use your verbal cadence under center. So we were going to test our headsets out during warmups. So I’m talking to (Jared) Goff as they’re introducing their guys and I’m thinking, ‘Holy s***,we’ve got no chance of communicating the way that we did before (because of noise).'”

Then, McVay compared the atmosphere to attending a legendary rock band’s concert known for cranking up the volume on the speakers.

“It was like a Metallica concert sitting front row that never slowed up,” McVay recalled.

The Jumbotron Tactic

The rock concert-like vibes wasn’t the only thing McVay revisited when asked about the 26-23 OT win that was won off the right foot of kicker Greg Zuerlein.

McVay remembered before the kick witnessing “one of the most genius things I’ve ever seen” that involved him having to look up at the screen then questioning what one of his wide receivers said, even though he originally felt he said the right things leading up to the contest. McVay described how the venue aired an interview Robert Woods conducted during the week downplaying the Saints’ raucous atmosphere.

“He was saying ‘It’s going to be a great atmosphere, but we’re confident we can handle it with the non-verbal communication and it’s not going to be a factor.’ He gives an answer that you want your players to say,” McVay said. “Well, they play this over the loud speaker, Woods is over by my right shoulder, the sound just continues to elevate and I wanted to say ‘Why the hell did you say that?!'”

Rising Above the Noise

Most will likely remember the game for the controversial non-pass interference call. McVay, though, remembers the contest more for the rocketing decibel levels and having to adjust their game plan to turn the noise levels down in the end.

“It was definitely the loudest atmosphere. It for sure affected our ability to communicate. We had to streamline the game plan,” McVay said. “We had to eliminate a lot of the longer verbiage, wordy play calls. It was an adjustment but our guys settled in and did a great job of finding a way to get it done, but that was definitely unparalleled in terms of the noise and what we had there. It was a rockin’ atmosphere, that’s for sure.”

The final scene McVay traces back on?

“The silence after that kick went through was pretty awesome,” he said.

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