By comparison, Peyton Manning didn’t reach the Super Bowl until his ninth season in the NFL. Neither did Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, a third overall pick.
“Not much,” Goff said when asked what he thought about his fast rise. “I’m just happy to be here.”
Goff struggled as a rookie, but turned things around quickly in his second season under coach Sean McVay after Jeff Fisher was fired.
“I never doubted myself,” Goff said. “I remained confident.”
Goff related to McVay in a way he didn’t with the old-school Fisher.
“Having the right people around,” Goff said. “He brought in the right people and the way he’s able to communicate and the way he’s able to lead. The type of person he is, we love him. He does everything for us. “
Unlike Ryan, to whom he was compared the most before the 2016 draft, Goff did not reach the playoffs in his first season in the NFL.
Goff struggled mightily for Los Angeles, while Ryan, as a rookie, guided his team to the playoffs. Manning struggled his rookie season, too.
“I do think they were two different QBs,” Rams general manager Les Snead said, who was part of the drafting of both quarterbacks. “Body-type, probably similar. I’m a huge Matt Ryan fan, and I would not be here at all today without Matt.”
Snead saw similarities in how both approached the game.
“What you did know about Matt was the way he leads, the way he goes about his business. You learn that is very important, and Jared had a lot of those same qualities,” Snead said. “Probably two different skill sets, but similar body types.”
Goff is listed at 6-foot-4, 222 pounds while Ryan is listed at 6-foot-4, 217 pounds.
In addition to physical stature, there are intangible characteristics that both quarterbacks have.
“In the NFL, very rarely are we Clemson or Alabama and we show up and we are better than everybody,” Snead said. “Usually, it’s pretty equal, and there is a fine line between who’s better and who’s not.
“Both Jared and Matt, Matt with (Boston College) and Jared with (California), kind of took over programs in their conferences (that) don’t outman people. They both had success, not national championship success, but that is similar to what you are going through in the NFL.”
Both had to play a cerebral brand of football.
“You’re showing up,” Snead said. “You’re trying to win a game. You are trying to beat people sometimes who are better than you in terms of the overall talent. I guess that’s one of the similarities that we drew upon.”
Like Snead, McVay likes Goff’s intangibles. He pointed to the NFC championship game, when Goff remained calm after the Rams fell behind 13-0 to the Saints.
“I think what stood out is the way that he was able to weather the storm,” McVay said. “I think, really, that mental toughness that was displayed by our team as a whole, and Jared kind of personified that with the way that he handled the game.”
Goff led the Rams’ rally. He completed three pass plays of 30 yards or more to lead the charge.
“I thought just his overall command, making big-time throws when we needed it the most,” McVay said. “I thought the throw to (wide receiver) Brandin Cooks (for 36 yards) was outstanding, the off-schedule third down to (tight end) Gerald Everett (for 39 yards) in a drive that we had to have. Then, when you really look at the two throws he made in the overtime period, those are two of the greatest throws.”
Goff had to contend with the loud Saints fans.
“I just thought Jared’s ability to be at his best when his best was required,” McVay said. “The competitive greatness showed up in a big way.”
Goff plans to maintain his composure like he did against the Saints in the Super Bowl.
“(There) was so much against us early on and so much going on that was not going our way,” Goff said. “To be able to get through that and come out with a win, it gives you some confidence and gives you something to look back on as a way that you handled some stuff correctly.”
While Goff is priming for his first Super Bowl appearance, New England’s Tom Brady is in his ninth Super Bowl.
“I was young when he got his first Super Bowl,” Goff said. “I do remember him playing in the Super Bowls. I don’t know if I remember an exact moment I could give you, but obviously do remember them playing in and winning a bunch of Super Bowls.”
Goff cherishes his relationship with McVay.
“Sean has been great for me,” Goff said. “We have a great relationship, and it’s continued to build throughout this season. I feel like we’re in a really good place right now with just the way he calls the game and the way I feel about the way he calls the game.
“The relationship has been great. He’s very receptive (to) listening and at the same time, very easy to listen to. He’s a great coach and a guy that I’ve enjoyed playing for.”
RAMS (15-3) VS. PATRIOTS (13-5)
When: 5:30 p.m. Sunday (CBS Ch. 3)
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
Line: Patriots by 2.5