But after the 2008 St. Paul graduate watches the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots matchup in Minneapolis — he will immediately return to his work with hopes of soon being associated with a Super Bowl.
“I want to win the Super Bowl before I die,” McLaughlin said flatly during a short break from film study as a scouting assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “I want to win another one, and another one after that. That’s what I want to do.
“Some things are out of my control, but I want to have a hand in putting together a Super Bowl-winning NFL team,” he added. “That’s my ultimate goal — to move up and win Super Bowls.”
McLaughlin’s position is one of little downtime — especially last week. The Senior Bowl is a big scouting tool for NFL Draft prep, so he was back in the offices putting together film clips of college players. The Buccaneers own the No. 7 overall pick in the first round of the draft on April 26.
“I support two sides of the department, pro and college scouting,” McLaughlin said. “Every day it’s cyclical and changes depending on the time of the year.
“But there is a lot of watching film to find clips to pull of a specific player, and I did some traveling this fall as well,” he added. “We split up the country among our scouts, and I had 12 schools in the Northeast.”
Some of his other duties have included evaluating all the players on two opposing NFL teams, and various pro evaluations that come up. McLaughlin is responsible for film evaluations and character reports for select college teams, and schedules and organizes pre-draft prospect visits.
McLaughlin spent his January helping the scouting department prepare for both the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine game. That includes filling out roster cards, and making sure the proper info is set up for potential interviews and other database purposes. He will also attend college football All-Star games, pro days and the NFL combine next month.
“Our director of college scouting lets me keep the draft board organized to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be, things like that,” he said.
McLaughlin is usually in the building by 6 a.m. and leaves at 8 p.m. in a profession where 70-to-80 hour work weeks are the norm.
“I work for some really good, reasonable people — and all of them started here where I am,” McLaughlin said. “They realize and understand my job and how intense the workload can be. That makes it a lot easier.
“I love coming to work every day,” he added. “It’s not hard to get motivated every day to come here and do it. It can get to be a lot at times, but there is nothing I’d rather be doing. This is always what I’ve wanted to do.”
While obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Sports Administration at Cincinnati, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with the top grade-point average in his class, McLaughlin began the long-traveled road to his current position with the Buccaneers.
There were months-long internships with the Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts, but also stints with the College of Mount St. Joseph, Thomas More College, Florida International University — and both the Cincinnati Commandos and Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League.
He landed a position as a team operations assistant with the Buccaneers in July 2014. McLaughlin spent not quite two years in that position, before being promoted to his current scouting assistant position in February 2016.
“That was always my goal, to work in the NFL,” McLaughlin said. “Scouting was my dream career. It’s very competitive and really difficult to get into. I didn’t have any connections or know anyone, but fortunately knew what I wanted to do early on.”
Growing up in Norwalk, McLaughlin’s love for sports was embedded in him from a very young age — as he was constantly outside playing a sport.
At St. Paul, McLaughlin developed the drive to chase championships.
During his four years on the football team, the Flyers played in a regional championship game each year, twice reaching the state semifinals and once advancing to the state championship game.
St. Paul broke through for its state title two seasons after McLaughlin’s class graduated.
“Playing at a football program that was really successful kind of nurtured that passion for the sport even further,” he said. “Deep down, I’m really competitive in that sense. On a daily basis, I chose this business because I want to win Super Bowls, and advance and win at the highest level I possibly could.
“I’d be lying if I said not winning a state championship in high school was something I haven’t thought about,” McLaughlin added. “We were a part of great teams, but always came up a little short of that ultimate goal. That made it easy to develop a hunger for this.”
McLaughlin’s goal is to keep climbing the ranks of the scouting department.
“Hopefully I can eventually become a pro or college scout, or some position higher within personnel department,” he said. “I just want to keep growing my career, working for successful organizations and working with good people.
“I don’t want to say my end-all, be-all is to be a General Manager,” McLaughlin added. “A lot of things have to happen for that to even be a possibility — and there are only 32 of those jobs, obviously. But just kind of pass up through the ranks. In order for any of that to happen, we kind of have to win.”