ATLANTA — When it comes to Super Bowl LIII, there are plenty of storylines and narratives.
Sean McVay against Bill Belichick. Tom Brady against time and Wade Phillips. The possible retirements of Rob Gronkowski and Devin McCourty. Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh vs. the Patriots offensive line. Former Patriots Brandin Cooks and Aqib Talib against their old teammates and coaches. The final games with the Patriots for Brian Flores and Chad O'Shea. The list goes on and on.
But there's little mention of Josh McDaniels, outside of the fact that a year ago he was all but signed to become the next head coach of the Indianapolis. And then ... he wasn't.
There's plenty at stake for McDaniels in this game, too. There's the fact Phillips got the best of McDaniels, Brady and the Patriots in the 2015 AFC Championship Game, when the Patriots were three-point road favorites.
And then there's this:
McVay, 33, is the NFL's offensive wunderkind, and has taken the Rams to the Super Bowl in just his second season.
Less than a decade ago, McDaniels was McVay. After directing the Patriots' offense to dizzying heights, he was hired as the next-great-thing by the Broncos in 2009. He was 8-4 to start his tenure, and then a 3-13 mark got him fired after a Week 13 loss to the Chiefs in his second season.
Now, eight years later, McDaniels will look across the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday night and see in McVay would could have been.
So, yeah, you could say McDaniels has a lot at stake when the Patriots face the Rams.
In an exclusive conversation with BostonSportsJournal.com, McDaniels talked about anticipating a "tweak" from Phillips. And he also admitted that, yes, he sees what everyone else sees when they view McVay — that McDaniels was supposed to be the trailblazer for the next wave of offensive young guns.
"Yeah, I mean, sure, I’m a human being ... I would think it would be crazy if I didn’t, you know?" McDaniels said. "I had an opportunity to experience