It wouldn’t be Hollywood without a little drama.
The breakup between the Rams and quarterback Jared Goff was, reportedly, a bit more messy than the two were letting on in public, with offseason trade ending a three-year marriage between Goff and head coach Sean McVay that, at the time, seem destined to last a decade or more.
Now, with Stafford in Tinsel Town and Goff in the Motor City, we know why the Rams decided to move on from the former No. 1 overall pick: A souring relationship between quarterback and head coach.
Here’s how the partnership deteriorated:
Jared Goff-Sean McVay relationship
Week 12, 2020: The Rams fall to the 49ers 23-20, and Jared Goff goes 19-of-31 passing with two interceptions in the loss. Goff’s performance draws the ire and criticism of head coach Sean McVay following the loss:
“Our quarterback has to take better care of the football,” McVay said to reporters. But it wasn’t the first time that McVay had called out Goff. In fact, in front of teammates in the locker room before the press conference, McVay had chewed out Goff before, per reports.
ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry details that McVay made it a habit of ripping into Goff on the sidelines, before and after games, with the head coach seemingly not caring about helping Goff grow and improve from that point.
In fact, McVay’s impatience with Goff grew to the point where he was itching to start quarterback John Wolford over Goff, something that came to pass in Week 17 in 2020 as Goff was recovering from thumb surgery.
Following the Rams’ ousting in the playoffs to the Packers in the divisional round, questions surrounded Goff’s future as Los Angeles answer. Both head coach Sean McVay and GM Les Snead were non-committal on Goff’s future as quarterback for the Rams.
“Yeah, he’s our quarterback, right now,” McVay said on Jan. 17.
“Jared Goff is a Ram at this moment,” Snead said on Jan. 26, echoing his head coach’s sentiments. “It’s way too early to speculate the future. That’s a beautiful mystery.”
It wasn’t much later — just a few days, on Jan. 31 — when the Rams and Lions agreed to a deal to send Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Lions for Matthew Stafford.
Now, waiting for the deal to be finalized on the first day of the new league year in March, Goff knew it was time for a new beginning away from LA.
“As the quarterback, as the guy that’s at arguably the most important position on the field, if you’re in a place that you’re not wanted and they want to move on from you, the feeling’s mutual,” Goff said. “You don’t want to be in the wrong place. It became increasingly clear that was the case. …
“You start to feel, I don’t want to say ‘relief’ is the word, but you start to feel happy, grateful, ready for a new opportunity. That’s the biggest feeling that I was overcome with that night, and even in the days following.”
Fast forward to Week 7, 2021: Goff is returning to Los Angeles for the first time since the trade.
“Yes, I wish there was better, clearer communication,” McVay said on Oct. 18, regarding the way that the trade went down. “To say that it was perfectly handled on my end, I wouldn’t be totally accurate in that. I’ll never claim to be perfect, but I will try to learn from some things that I can do better, and I think that was one of them without a doubt.”
Goff also has some thoughts on McVay’s comments.
“I appreciate it. It takes a man to say something like that, so yeah, I appreciate it,” Goff said. “It still happened the way it did, but I do appreciate him saying that and got all the respect in the world for them over there.”
We’ll see how much respect the two sides have following the conclusion of their matchup this weekend.