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Kliff Kingsbury Opens Up About Call He'd Like Back

Coach talks about Rams play on podcast with L.A. coach Sean McVay

Not surprisingly, Kliff Kingsbury -- like many coaches -- dwells on what didn't go right more often than what went right.

"Those are the ones that stay with me the most," Kingsbury said, during an appearance on the Ringer's "Flying Coach" podcast co-hosted by Rams coach Sean McVay and Peter Schrager.

"I remember the painful ones, but I don't remember all of them," he added.

One of the more intriguing parts of the podcast -- in which McVay and Schrager talk to various coaches each episode -- is asking the guest of a play or a scenario they wish they could have back. Kingsbury went with the season finale, coincidentally against the Rams, on a play in which backup quarterback Chris Streveler threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown.

"It was against y'all in the last game," Kingsbury said to McVay. "It's 7-5, right, and we have to win to make the playoffs. Sean is 1,000-and-0 when leading at halftime. We finally have a lead, and he has beaten the Cardinals (seven) times in a row. We're about to have a lead at halftime. We haven't gotten a yard all game and we finally have a two-minute drive going. We get to about the plus-40, and I'm thinking, 'Let's just hard count, and I will check into the play.' I was thinking speed-option, we have an athletic quarterback in.

"So we hard count, we think they jump, and this is a backup (QB) who hasn't played much. ... This is literally the first time he's played, no preseason, and this is the first time I'm putting this package on him, which he has never practiced. We think they jump (offsides), they don't jump, we snap it and throw a pick-6. We're going to at worst have a 7-5 lead."

(A quick aside, on replay it did seem as if the Rams were offside, but no flag means no penalty.)

"It was so quiet and all you could hear is Sean running down (the sideline), cheering," Kingsbury continued. "In my head, I had just thought, if we could just have a lead at halftime, we have a chance. Because he never loses at halftime. Awful playcall, awful decision, everything about it. that one will stay with me for a long time."

They did follow up to ask Kingsbury about a call he did like. He had one too, albeit with much less detail, about Kyler Murray's touchdown run against Washington early in the season.

"We just had a holding call so it was like second-and-20," Kingsbury said. "We called a QB draw and Kyler had a great run. That was fun. They've got a good defense."

The friendship between Kingsbury and McVay (and Schrager for that matter) comes through clear in the podcast, with Kingsbury at ease and more open than in normal press settings. There was plenty of good-natured trash talk between the two NFC West coaches too. At the end of the interview, McVay said he was rooting for Kingsbury except when the Cards play the Rams, noting "those two games I hope you have a lot of (expletive) playcalls."

Answered Kingsbury, "After eight consecutive victories, at some point, it's got to slip," Kingsbury said. "We'll keep plugging away."

Kliff Kingsbury during an OTA in the 2021 offseason