Tonight, 33-year-old Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay will make history as the youngest head coach to lead a team to the Super Bowl.
In his two short years with the Rams, McVay has turned a once 4-12 team into a winning organization that recently ended the regular season with a 13-3 record. His success can be attributed not only to the talent of his players and staff, but also to the steps he's taken to motivate the team.
According to ESPN, anyone who visits the Rams training facility will see four key phrases posted on the walls:
1. "The standard is the standard."
2. "Situational masters."
3. "We not me."
4. "Our rule — be on time."
The coach says the purpose of these phrases — referred to as "McVayisms" — is to create a culture where you have "core values and beliefs that you think are consistent with the things you want to represent."
Punter John Hekker says that McVay uses these phrases so often that "every player regurgitates the stuff," be it around the locker room or in interviews with the media. Center John Sullivan says that he repeats some of the sayings so often that he's even brought them into his own household.
"My son knows, 'We not me' and 'the standard is the standard,' and my wife hears that a lot," he told ESPN.
While mottoes like "we not me" and "our rule — be on time," are easy enough to grasp, some of McVay's other sayings are a bit harder to understand if you're not part of the team.
Safety John Johnson III says that "the standard is the standard" means "we set the bar and there are no excuse,. "It's hard to explain!" he says. "You just kind of know from experience."
Running back Todd Gurley II says that "situational masters" means that in addition to talent, it's important for a player to understand that "you can beat somebody just by knowing the situations of the game."
McVay's motivational phrases have created a culture where expectations are clear. In fact, all-pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh told ESPN in October that it's McVay's leadership style that ultimately led him to sign a one-year, $14 million contract with the Rams.