Sean McVay Aware He ‘Pissed Off’ Gamblers With Backdoor Cover, But Only After The Fact

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FOX broadcaster Mark Sanchez knew immediately what was going on when Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay, trailing the San Francisco 49ers by 10 points, ordered a 38-yard field goal with four seconds to play to finish the game with a 30-23 loss on Sunday.

The Rams, you see, were 7- to 7 1/2-point underdogs to the Niners and the seemingly insignificant kick was actually quite meaningful to sports books and gamblers around the country.

“Bad beats,” Sanchez said on air. “Oh, man.”

Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams speaks at a news conference following workouts at California Lutheran University on May 23, 2023 in Thousand Oaks, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

No NFL Response On Rams Cover

With the NFL’s laser focus on player gambling and how it affects the integrity of the game, the decision by the Rams coach seemingly raises eyebrows.

Except maybe not in the NFL offices.

And not for McVay.

An NFL spokesman did not respond when asked by OutKick if the decision by the Rams coach would be further investigated.

McVay was not asked about the decision after the game Sunday but Monday said he was not aware of the gambling line and how the field goal affected the pocketbook of some bettors until Rams vice president of communications Artis Twyman told him immediately after the game.

“Apparently, Artis told me there’s a lot of people in Vegas pissed off about that decision,” McVay said. “I clearly was not aware of that stuff.”

Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by Michael Hoecht #97 of the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium on September 17, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Sean McVay Explains FG Decision

So why would McVay kick that apparently meaningless field goal then?

Wouldn’t most teams heave the ball into the end zone to try to score a touchdown, even if that too was meaningless?

Not according to McVay

“What we were trying to do is we were trying to be able to get a completion to where we kicked the field goal beforehand with the opportunity to be able to . . . if we had hit that deep in-breaking route, (earlier in the possession), it really would’ve worked out the way that we wanted to,” McVay said.

“We were going to try to kick a field goal once we got into field goal position to then be able to kick an onside and try to give ourselves the real opportunity to win the game.”

So McVay wanted to kick a field goal. Successfully recover on onside kick. Then throw a Hail Mary for the win.

Yes, 99.99999% improbable. But that was his answer to being down 10 so late.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua (17) runs after a catch during the NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams on September 17, 2023, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rams’ Nacua Affected McVay’s Thinking

“By the time it got down to it,” McVay said, “didn’t anticipate that in-cut that we hit Puka [Nacua] running that long and just said, ‘Alright, go ahead and kick the field goal.’

“[I] felt like it was an opportunity to be able to not leave [quarterback] Matthew [Stafford] susceptible to an unnecessary heave to the end zone and get an opportunity for our field goal operation.

“The initial goal was to try to get a two-for-one to where you end up getting into field goal range a little bit earlier with some of the play selections that we had and then ultimately be able to try to have an onside kick to then be able to go try to compete to tie or win the game. “

Whether gamblers and betting sites like the approach or not, it helped the Rams.

Point differential is one of the tiebreakers the NFL uses to break standings ties for postseason playoffs and to determine regular-season schedules. And yes, it’s the eighth tiebreaker so it rarely comes into play.

But at least it would sound like a plausible explanation.

Not that the apparently NFL cares, either way.

Follow on X: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

One Comment

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  1. So the folks who took the rams to cover are happy, and the folks who took the 49ers are not, nothing to apologize for or questionable here, every coach in a home game should be aware if his team is an underdog and if you can’t win at least try to cover to send the home fans that bet on the home team happy. The sports world has already accepted that gambling is a huge driver of revenue, why pretend like it shouldn’t affect a games outcome when every telecast is draped in mgmbet or draft kings commercials. McVay should just say it’s great news they covered because ATS stats may as well be as important as wins and losses.

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