The coach-player "marriage" that was meant to last, but failed to do so.
It's the story of L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay and his former quarterback in Los Angeles, Jared Goff.
Everything was rosy for the two at first
Goff passed for a total of 8,492 yards and 60 touchdowns in 2017 and 2018, en route to two Pro Bowl selections. The duo also guided the Rams to back-to-back NFC West division crowns, as well as an NFC championship and a subsequent appearance in Super Bowl LIII.
The pairing of Goff and McVay looked like it could do no wrong at the time, and there was no doubt that McVay loved his starting signal-caller.
In fact, the following season, Goff and the Rams agreed to a four-year, $134 million contract extension, including a record-breaking $110 million in guaranteed money.
The outlook was bright in L.A., and after inking the deal, all Goff could do was smile about his relationship with McVay.
Per ESPN's Lindsey Thiry, "He's (McVay's) joked that I'm stuck with him. I told him, 'I think I'm OK with that,'" Goff said. "It will be a good marriage ... I'm happy to be with him for a long time."
The New England Patriots limited Goff and the Rams to 260 total yards and just three points in Super Bowl LIII.
And, little did people know at the time that the Patriots had established a blueprint for stopping Goff and the Rams' offense.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots did something that basically no other team had done to the Rams over the course of two seasons: They stymied McVay's high-powered offensive attack.
There was no indication of a rift in the relationship between McVay and Goff in the immediate aftermath of the Super Bowl loss, however.
"Jared Goff, as long as I'm fortunate enough to be in this role, hopefully this guy is stuck with me for a long time," McVay said a few months after the loss to the Patriots.
But, then the production started to dip and rather significantly for McVay's offense.
It went from third in scoring in 2018 to 12th in 2019, to tied for 22nd in 2020. It was no longer a high-octane offense that could overpower defenses and win the Rams games on a consistent basis.
Meanwhile, Goff also experienced a significant dip in production. He threw a combined 42 TDs in 2019 and 2020, and failed to produce more than a single playoff win in either season. In fact, Goff and the Rams missed out on the postseason completely in 2019.
The 2016 No. 1 overall pick began to show signs of not being Los Angeles' long-term solution under center, and he grew increasingly out of favor with McVay.
And, McVay would often air out his frustrations with the former Rams passer on the sideline during games, resulting in "one-sided shouting matches," with McVay holding nothing back, according to ESPN.
But, nothing between McVay and Goff was as ugly as what reportedly transpired during a Week 12 loss for McVay & Co. to the San Francisco 49ers during the 2020 season.
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Goff had turned the ball over three times in the contest, and McVay let him know all about it in the locker room after the game.
Per ESPN, he "glared in Goff's direction, shouting that he needed to play better and couldn't continue to turn the ball over."
And, McVay continued to express his dismay toward Goff in his postgame presser.
He told reporters, "Our quarterback has to take better care of the football." It was the first time in his four seasons as head coach where he placed blame on an individual player for a loss rather than himself.
This postgame spat spoke volumes to those on the inside of the L.A. locker room, and indicated to the masses that the once rosy relationship between McVay and Goff had officially been fractured.
The marriage, at this point, was beyond repair, and Goff's exit from Hollywood would soon follow
Goff is jettisoned to Detroit
In trading Goff to Detroit and sending two first-round draft picks along with him (picks in 2022 and 2023), the perception emerged that Los Angeles simply gave up on the former No. 1 overall pick.
"Some decisions work; some don't," a team source told ESPN. "We are going to take big swings."
At his introductory press conference, Goff acknowledged that he took the initial news of the trade personally.
"At first, absolutely. I think it builds that chip on your shoulder a little bit. I won't lie about that. There is that little extra motivation and chip that you do feel," Goff said.
He added, "I had so many great memories, made so many great friends, have so many great former teammates from there. There's so much I learned there, and there's no ill will. I want to move forward with my life and my career, and this is my next chapter."
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