Sean McVay had never been doused with a gatorade bath, but the head coach was showered with one at the end of Los Angeles' 46-9 victory over Indianapolis on Sunday.
"I could have avoided it if I wanted to," McVay said postgame, "but I felt like I kind of had to take it a little bit."
It was McVay's first regular-season game as a head coach, and the players recognized him for putting them in position to win. McVay's Rams scored the second-most points for a head coaching debut in franchise history, with Bob Snyder's 1947 L.A. Rams the only team to eclipse the mark at 48.
In the locker room postgame, Rams Owner/Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke presented McVay with a game ball.
"It feels good," McVay said of beginning his head coaching career 1-0. "It's a little surreal, but it's one game."
McVay continuously emphasizes a philosophy of "we not me," and gave plenty of credit to his coaching staff for putting the Rams in position to win. That includes defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and special teams coordinator John Fassel for the way they're able to handle their respective units, allowing McVay to spend more time with the offense if needed.
"I think the biggest thing is — like I've mentioned over and over — being so confident and comfortable with John Fassel and Wade Phillips where you can be fully engaged making sure that you're not feeling like I've got to flip over on the defensive headset," McVay said. "I want to make sure that we know — look at the pictures, what did we get defensively from the opponent — so that going into the next drive, you can kind of preview some things with the quarterback and with our other coaches so that they can prep their players.
"And that's the luxury that you do have where you certainly what to be involved and know what's going on, but you can empower those guys and make sure that it doesn't take away from your ability to call plays," McVay continued. "That's why it feels so great about having those guys."
But there are still times where McVay is getting used to some of his new responsibilities as a head coach. Like a halftime interview with the television broadcast team when he's on his way to the locker room. When asking McVay about it, a reporter commented it was the fast he's ever seen a head coach run for halftime.
"It comes quick. When you want to try to get some openers for the second half that's where — I didn't realize that was the fastest anyone has ever run. I like to think I'm in decent shape running around with these guys," McVay said with a laugh. "But yeah, that 12 minutes goes quick, so you've got to be able to get up there, get in there and I'm not used to having to do those interviews at halftime."
Nevertheless, McVay has undoubtedly set a tone early for how this Rams team should perform.
"I think we have a whole new character around this team," nose tackle Michael Brockers said postgame. "We don't care about being the youngest team, we don't care about having the youngest coach. We just care about winning games."
"Offense lit the board up, special teams executed perfectly, defense played one heck of a game — that's just a team effort, kind of what McVay started to preach here from Day 1," outside linebacker Robert Quinn said. "Just the first true game we got to show what we're about."
With McVay serving as the offensive playcaller, Los Angeles began his tenure with a banner day as the unit scoring 30 points. Quarterback Jared Goff enjoyed the best performance of his young career, earring his first win as a starter. Goff completed 21 of his 29 passes for 306 yards with a touchdown, and was sacked only once.
"Yeah it's exciting," Goff said. "Just starting off the season with the win regardless if it's my first or Sean's first, I think it's exciting for everybody."
But even as the Rams outscored the Colts by 37 on Sunday, McVay saw plenty of room for improvement, particularly on offense.
"I thought it was OK," McVay said of the unit's flow. "We've got to be able to run the football better, more consistently get a hat on a hat, be targeted the right way and some of the things in the run game and then we've got to do a good job avoiding the penalties. But, I think it's a step in the right direction, definitely some positives in the pass game. I know our guys will be motivated the right way to respond, so that's kind of where we're at offensively."
And so while McVay was clearly pleased with beginning 2017 with a victory, he sounded far from satisfied when asked about his takeaways from Week 1.
"I think you take away how fortunate you feel to be a part of it more than anything else. You look at the defensive effort today, you look at the special teams, offensively we were able to do some good things," McVay said. "I think it's a step in the right direction, but it's all about those players and I can't say enough about the way that these guys have bought into what we're trying to do.
"We know it's one win and now, the true measure of performance, is consistency," he continued. "Let's see if we can have a great week of preparation and see if we can give ourselves a chance to have a good performance against a tough Washington team next week."