To say the 2022 campaign has been a disappointment for the Los Angeles Rams would be an understatement, and head coach Sean McVay didn't hold back on his assessment.
"This year has been, in my opinion, from just what I can control, a professional failure," McVay said, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. "And that's been humbling, it's been challenging. It's revealed some things I wouldn't have known about myself that you have to be able to deal with and acknowledge accordingly.
"But if you do it the right way, I do believe you can be stronger. But I think every experience you can learn from, some might be good, some might be bad."
It wasn't supposed to be like this for the reigning champions.
Despite speculation that both McVay and star defensive tackle Aaron Donald could retire after last season's Super Bowl title, both returned to a team with championship aspirations. The latter reworked his deal to become the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.
Throw in a new contract extension for quarterback Matthew Stafford and the addition of wide receiver Allen Robinson, and the Rams had plenty of momentum during the offseason after lifting the Lombardi Trophy.
And then the games started.
Los Angeles lost its season opener in blowout fashion to the Buffalo Bills and is an ugly 5-11 on the campaign. Weeks 2 and 3 were the only time it notched back-to-back wins all year, and it will enter Sunday's contest against the Seattle Seahawks with 2-8 record since its 3-3 start.
The Rams' 11 losses are already an NFL record for the most defeats for the reigning Super Bowl champions, and they could add another in Week 18.
While McVay took responsibility, much of the trouble is beyond his control. Donald, Stafford and Cooper Kupp, the team's top-end talent that drove them to the Super Bowl last year, have all been sidelined by injuries.
The organization surely didn't envision trotting out a rotating door of quarterbacks that included Baker Mayfield, John Wolford and Bryce Perkins this season, and the results are reflected in the standings.
It remains to be seen whether the Rams will bounce back in 2023, but McVay isn't letting the opportunity for improvement go to waste.
"Even though you don't want to have to go through it again, there's no doubt about it that these will be lessons that I am confident that will make me better, and a more whole person and leader moving forward," he said.