Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin won a Super Bowl title in just his second year on the job, claiming the organization’s then-record sixth Lombardi Trophy at the end of the 2008 season. In doing so, he became the youngest head coach ever to win a Super Bowl, at the age of 36, soon to turn 37 a month later.
This year’s Super Bowl will test that—again, by the same person. The two teams facing off this year—the Los Angeles Rams with Sean McVay and the Cincinnati Bengals with his former quarterback coach, Zach Taylor—make for the youngest head coach matchup in Super Bowl history.
Taylor, in his third year on the job, is still just 38 years old. But McVay, who has already appeared in one Super Bowl, just recently turned 36. He now has his second opportunity to break Tomlin’s record and become the youngest head coach in NFL history to win the Super Bowl.
That is if he is able to defeat his former protégé, Taylor, who has led the Bengals on an arguably improbable season, going 10-7 to win the AFC North and then advancing through the first three rounds of the playoffs—after having not won a postseason game as a franchise since 1990.
Interestingly, both teams are four seeds this year. While that is far from the lowest seed to ever appear in the Super Bowl, nor win it, it is the lowest combined seeding of Super Bowl contestants in the history of the game.
Taylor was still on McVay’s staff in 2018 when the Rams advanced to the Super Bowl in what was his second season as head coach. McVay was just 33 years old at that time. Taylor’s work with quarterback Jared Goff had helped him garner attention on the head coaching circuit that offseason, promptly landing in Cincinnati.
His Bengals went 2-14 in his first year, ‘earning’ the first overall pick, which they used to draft quarterback Joe Burrow. Following a 4-11-1 season a year later in 2020, he drafted Burrow’s college wide receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, and the duo has been electric this year.
Now it’s on McVay to stop that combination, with a good chance that Jalen Ramsey will be following him throughout the game. And Cincinnati’s offensive line will be disadvantaged playing against Aaron Donald and Von Miller up front.
The Rams are favored to win, which, as we’ve already discussed, would make McVay the youngest head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl. Taylor, however, would also be the second-youngest head coach, behind Tomlin, should he win. Jon Gruden was 39 when he won with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002.