Evaluating Just How Safe Mike McCarthy’s Job Is

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mike mccarthy

In today’s NFL, the coaching carousel moves faster than ever.

If after a few seasons a team isn’t minimally contending to make the postseason, the head coach is liable to be fired. Which is a tall task considering new coaches typically acquire teams with weak rosters, coming off disappointing seasons. 

Fair or not, that’s the nature of professional football these days. For example, the Miami Dolphins hired Mike McDaniel as their new head coach this offseason. He will be the seventh coach since 2010.  The Jacksonville Jaguars are on their eighth coach in the same timeframe after hiring Doug Pedersen this offseason.

So is it possible for Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy to be another name on the long list of recently fired NFL coaches if 2022 doesn’t go well? Let’s take a look, as there is plenty of pressure on him to perform considering the Cowboys’ star-studded roster.

Mike McCarthy- Aaron Rodgers Divorce 

In 13 seasons as head coach in Green Bay, McCarthy was successful in many ways. He held a 125-77-2 record and won the Super Bowl in 2010.

His career in Green Bay coincided with quarterback Aaron Rodgers’. McCarthy took the reins as head coach in 2006, while Rodgers was drafted to the Packers in 2005 and became the starting QB in 2008.

The duo made the playoffs in nine of McCarthy’s 13 seasons in the frozen tundra, but only have one Super Bowl ring to show for it. This is the only mark on Rodgers’ resume when comparing him to the great QBs in NFL history.

At the end of McCarthy’s tenure in Green Bay, tension continued building between the QB and head coach. Much of it was caused by the two not being on the same page when it came to play calling. 

When looking year-by-year, Rodgers was always dominant when healthy. But the lack of playoff success fell on McCarthy’s shoulders, ultimately leading to his firing mid-season in 2018.

Fresh start in Dallas

McCarthy’s first season with the Cowboys in 2020 didn’t go as planned. Quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season ending ankle injury in week five and Dallas finished the year with a 6-10 record.

Season two was exponentially better for McCarthy. The Cowboys finished 12-5 and were the kings of the NFC East. But they suffered a loss in the wild card round at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, a game in which many questioned the play-calling by McCarthy.

His clock management was also heavily criticized following the playoff loss, along with a handful of other regular season games where McCarthy was responsible for time-related blunders. 

Even Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones wouldn’t comment on McCarthy’s job status following the loss to San Francisco, despite the fact that 2022 will be just year three of five on McCarthy’s contract with Dallas.

Despite the two years remaining on his deal beyond 2022, McCarthy’s job could be in danger if he doesn’t make a deep playoff run. After having Rodgers as his starting QB for 11 years and only having one Super Bowl to show for it, it’s a legitimate concern that a similar thing could happen with Prescott.