Head coach Mike McCarthy is heading to the unemployment line after the struggling Green Bay Packers (4-7-1) fired him after an inexcusable 20-17 loss to the last-place Arizona Cardinals.
In 13 seasons in Green Bay, McCarthy posted a 125-77-2 record with the Packers including a title during the 2010 season with a victory in Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers. McCarthy finished with a 10-8 postseason record with the Packers.
Bill Belichick from the New England Patriots, who does not give out many compliments, regarded McCarthy as one of his toughest foes. “Mike’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever gone up against,” said Belichick.
The Packers promoted offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will become the interim head coach. Philbin coached the Miami Dolphins from 20012 through 2015.
The Young MC
Mike McCarthy grew up in Pittsburgh the son on an Irish bar owner. He played football for a small college in Kansas, but that’s as far as his athletic career would go. McCarthy turned to the coaching ranks, where he was a natural fit.
In 1993, McCarthy got his start with the Kansas City Chiefs when Marty Schottenheimer first offered him a job in the NFL. McCarthy quickly worked his way up from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator.
In 1999, the Packers hired McCarthy as their QB coach worked his way up from quarterbacks coach. In 2000, he headed south to New Orleans where managed the Saints offense for five seasons. After a brief stint in San Francisco as the Niners OC, the Packers interviewed him in 2006.
The Packers, with aging legend Brett Favre as their QB, hired McCarthy in 2006. In his second season, he led the Packers to an NFC Championship Game, but they lost to the inevitable Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
In 2010, the Packers (10-6) ran the table in the playoffs and won the Super Bowl as a Wild Card team. As the #6 seed, the Packers beat the top three seeds in the postseason to win the NF Championship and earn them a spot in the Super Bowl. The Packers beat the Steelers 31-25 to win Super Bowl XLV. That victory marked the 13th overall title for the Green Bay Packers, or their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.
McCarthy vs. Favre
In 2008, McCarthy had to deal Hall of Famer Brett Favre waffling on his retirement. Favre won two Super Bowls with the Packers and would later become the first member of the 500 TD Club. The fan favorite fought numerous injuries and both alcohol and pain killer addiction along his wild journey in the NFL.
The Packers were committed to young understudy Aaron Rodgers, but Favre decided to un-retire and he wanted his starting QB job back. McCarthy told Favre he’d have to earn the job in training camp and compete against Rodgers.
Favre opted elsewhere and the Packers trade him to the New York Jets. The great Favre career in Green Bay ended on a sour note.
Usually, long-tenured coaches that won a Super Bowl will get the benefit of the doubt. They get to finish a season before they get sacked. In this instance, the shaky Packers waited until they were officially eliminated from the playoff hunt before they sent McCarthy to the gallows.
Packers president Mark Murphy released a statement, “The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers. As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately. Mike has been a terrific head coach and leader of the Packers for 13 seasons, during which time we experienced a great deal of success on and off the field. We want to thank Mike, his wife, Jessica, and the rest of the McCarthy family for all that they have done for the Packers and the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities. We will immediately begin the process of selecting the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers.”
After the cringe-worthy loss at home to the inept Cardinals, the Packers had no choice but to relieve McCarthy of his duties.
Aaron and Mike Not BFFs
Coaches wear out their welcome. It is part of the coaching cycle. Sometimes teams need a reboot and fresh blood. But the McCarthy and Packers breakup was long overdue, especially after his relationship with Aaron Rodgers deteriorated over the years.
Last week, Sports Illustrated published an article detailing the depths of the cracks in the fractured relationship between Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy. The two feuded constantly over play calling.
The last straw in their battle for control occurred in the offseason when Alex Van Pelt did not return as QB coach. Van Pelt and Rodgers had become super close. McCarthy attempted to neutralize a threat. The organization decided to not bring back Van Pelt after his contract expired.
Rodgers did not hold back his ire in the press. “I thought that was an interesting change, really without consulting me. There’s a close connection between quarterback and quarterback coach. And that was an interesting decision.”
Van Pelt eventually found a job with the Cincinnati Bengals.