When our careers begin, we are all idiots.
We are not idiots because of any mental handicap. We are idiots because we have no experience yet. We have not learned enough within whatever industry yet to not be an idiot.
Yet, somehow, we still have this imaginary superiority complex for so many around us. It is our way of coping with our own insecurities. We convince ourselves that we are somehow at all times so important to our industry and know so much while those around us know so little. An unfortunate but constant mindset of the American workplace is the idea that I have this sky-high potential that nobody else does and everyone above me, next to me or beneath me is just in the way.
The ugly truth is that a very small percentage of us are so supremely gifted to where that is actually true. As for the rest of us have to work our ass off, and we cannot do it alone.
Any successful person with years of experience will tell you that in life, the most successful are those most willing to learn, and learn from whoever necessary.
McVay is the embodiment of this. Yes, he has a knack for offensive creativity within play-calling and scheme. Yes, his players love him and play hard for him because he relates to them so well. These things are undeniable. But it is not like the first coach in football history to have both of those qualities is McVay. It is not like plenty of great offensive coaching minds and great players' coaches have not been flops. What about Josh McDaniels? Adam Gase? Chip Kelly? Why could these coaches not produce results even close to McVay?
The reason is that in the profession of NFL coaching, egos are double the size of people they belong to. McVay has his own ego, but it comes from an ironic place of humility. He is too good for nobody. He wants to know what everybody saw on a particular play. When other coaches get angry because another coach showed them up in practice, he wants to know how they did it so he can add whatever they did to his arsenal.
Former Rams' Head Coach Jeff Fisher saw first-overall quarterback selection Jared Goff as a student, and Fisher was the teacher. When McVay took over, he viewed Goff as a classmate. Every time that a play does not work out, McVay wants to know what Goff saw, and what he can do in terms of play-calling to make it easier on h the next time. He wants to learn from his quarterback as much as his quarterback learns from him.
When McVay was with the Redskins as offensive coordinator, all-pro cornerback Josh Norman recalls him coming up to Norman during practices asking him what he saw during certain plays. Norman said that sometimes in scrimmages the offense would run a route concept on Norman and he would defend it successfully. After the play, McVay would come up to Norman and ask him what he saw that allowed him to defend that concept. After the two discussed, McVay would go back, make adjustments, and burn Norman on the next play.
Not just quarterback or all-pro cornerback, but anyone on the team or on staff has some sort of valuable input to McVay. The video coordinators, the training staff, the backup right guard, anyone with a different set of eyes and a different brain has a perspective McVay can learn from. This is how he climbed up the coaching ladder so quickly.
That quality in a coach is so rare. Typically offensive coordinators barely even talk to any defensive guys. They view young quarterbacks as projects that they have to compete with their wealth of knowledge that is always right no matter what. But McVay has a constant thirst to get better and improve. He can do that most effectively when he uses other people's brains too and not just his own. The youngest head coach in NFL history and the youngest head coach to ever make a Super Bowl is so successful not because of his own gifts as a coach, but because of how he allows everyone around him to make him better.
This applies to life as well. Again, when you first start out in whatever profession, you are an idiot. You get better by taking in everything you can from other people around you and using it your advantage. You also get better once you realize that nobody is so far under your imaginary superiority complex that you cannot learn from them. The very lowest people of whatever industry's ladder know things that you do not. Why not learn it? Why not use everyone possible to make yourself better? Sean McVay did it, and he's coaching in the Super Bowl this weekend.