What You Didn't Know About Sean McVay's Famous Grandfather

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay may not have achieved his goal of being the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl ring in 2019, but he didn't let that get him down this year. After a wild-card win in the first round of the 2021 NFL Playoffs over the NFC division champ Seattle Seahawks, he and the Rams are looking forward and hoping to once again make it to the big game for a shot at the championship.

But there was more than a bit of luck and hard work involved in the league's youngest head coach's stellar success. According to SB Nation, football runs in McVay's veins. His grandfather, John McVay, also had a successful career in the NFL, and while he surely did pass some of his pigskin wisdom down to his grandson, Sean himself admits that it definitely helped to already have a generational foot in the pro football door. "This wouldn't have occurred without his influence on the league," Sean said. "It's such a small network, and I'm not naive [enough] to think I would get these opportunities if it wasn't for the legacy that my grandfather was able to establish."

Now, we're not saying that Sean McVay isn't a good coach, or that he doesn't deserve his killer $2.7-million Southern California home and Ukrainian supermodel girlfriend, but let's take a look into the career of the man who helped him get there.

Sean McVay's grandfather worked for the Giants and the 49ers

After coaching a couple college football teams in the 1960s and 1970s, John McVay got his start heading up professional teams in 1974. According to Helmet Hut, he was the head coach of the Memphis Southmen, a team in the now-defunct World Football League. When the league went belly-up in 1976, he was hired onto the coaching staff of the New York Giants and went from assistant to head coach mid-season after the head coach got fired. SB Nation notes that he later went to the San Francisco 49ers, working in the front office from 1980 to 1997 and rounding out his last two years with the organization as general manager. During his 19-year tenure with the legendary team, the 49ers won five Super Bowls — 1982, 1985, 1989, 1990, and 1995.

In San Francisco, John McVay worked with legendary head coach Bill Walsh, whose West Coast offense is apparent in Sean McVay's team today. "Bill Walsh is arguably one of the best of all time, and we certainly had a lot of respect for what he meant to this game, and we definitely try to take some of those things for sure," said McVay, who (pictured above with Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young) was no stranger among the 49ers as a kid. "The meticulous detail, the organization, the new-age approach that he really took to practice, how to maximize players' abilities."

Sean McVay's grandfather was part of one of the worst plays in NFL history

Although he went on to have a phenomenal career as an administrator and manager with the 49ers, John McVay's career as a head coach didn't end too well. On November 19, 1978, his New York Giants were just seconds away from winning a game against their division rivals the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants were up 17 to 12, and all quarterback Joe Pisarcik had to do was take a knee and victory would be theirs. Instead, he attempted to hand the ball off to the fullback Larry Csonka, but fumbled it in the process. The loose ball was recovered by Eagles cornerback Herman Edwards, and he returned it 26 yards to score the winning touchdown. The play went down in football history as the "Miracle at the Meadowlands."

According to NFL Films, it was the third worst play in a list of the league's Top 10 worst plays. "This is the play that gives birth to the kneel down rule," said NFL reporter Vic Carucci, "because you don't want another quarterback to be embarrassed the way Joe Pisarcik was that day." NFL announcer Marc Vandermeer called the Miracle at the Meadowlands "the worst play in NFL history" and advocated for it to be moved to No. 1 on the list. The play was most likely the reason McVay wasn't re-signed as the Giants' head coach, but he still had a great run with the 49ers.