The Green Bay Packers fired head coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday, ending a 13-season with one of the NFL’s iconic franchises that included a Super Bowl victory
The Green Bay Packers fired head coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday, ending a 13-season stretch with one of the NFL’s iconic franchises that included a Super Bowl victory.
Besides Green Bay’s Super Bowl XLV win over Pittsburgh in February of 2011, McCarthy presided over six NFC North titles and Packers reached the postseason nine times under his command.
However, a 20-17 home loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals (3-9) on Sunday proved to be the final straw in a disappointing season for the Packers (4-7-1), who are all but eliminated from postseason contention.
McCarthy’s axing comes amid reports of tension between he and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was asked about the future of his coach in the hours before the firing: ‘I’m not even thinking about that right now. I know my role is to play quarterback, to the best of my abilities.’
According to a recent Sports Illustrated report, those inside the organization said the coach and quarterback’s relationship was defined by tension.
Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy won a Super Bowl together, but since then their relationship had been defined by tension, according to one Sports Illustrated report
NFL analyst and Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe – the brother of Green Bay Packers legend Sterling Sharpe – thought Mike McCarthy should have gone much sooner
McCarthy was Green Bay’s play caller and his approach has been criticized as overly conservative, failing to get the best out of Rodgers, a two-times NFL most valuable player. Specifically, according to the SI report, McCarthy took issue with Rodgers’ propensity to improvise – a trait that often conflicted with his own play calling.
‘Aaron won’t be upset this story is being written and some of these frustrations are getting out there,’ one source close to Rodgers told SI.
The quarterback hinted at discord in October after a 22-0 win over Buffalo when he said the Packers had been ‘terrible on offense’.
Injuries to Rodgers, 35, and a lack of new playmakers for the offense did not help McCarthy.
NFL analyst Jay Glazer said on Twitter that McCarthy was not bitter about his departure and that he had told him he was proud to have been a part of the Packers.
‘Just talked to Mike McCarthy. Had nothing but praise for the Packers organization,’ he said.
Mike Zimmer, coach of Green Bay’s division rivals Minnesota, said McCarthy’s firing was a ‘sad, sad deal’.
‘Mike McCarthy is a good football coach. I think it’s a mistake,’ he said. ‘Just one man’s opinion.’
Team president Mark Murphy said it was time for a change.
‘The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers,’ Murphy said in a statement after Sunday’s defeat, their fifth in six games, saw them fall to 4-7-1.
‘As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately.’
McCarthy celebrates with the Vince Lombardi trophy as FOX analyast Terry Bradshaw and Packers’ General manager Ted Thompson looks on following the Packers 31-25 win in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas
Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was named interim head coach.
McCarthy departs with a record of 125 wins, 77 losses and two ties.
‘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,’ Murphy added.
‘We will immediately begin the process of selecting the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers.’
McCarthy has been coaching in the NFL for 25 years, starting as an assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs before moving to the Packers as quarterbacks coach in 1999.
He later had stints as offensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers before taking the head coach job at the Packers in 2006.
Longtime Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was named interim head coach
Many had publicly criticized McCarthy for what they perceived as his out-dated style.
While the likes of the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs represent the future of the NFL, with their young gunslinger quarterbacks and imaginative offenses, the Packers had plateaued in recent years under the conservative play-calling of their coach.
With the Packers headed for a second straight year of missing the postseason, many Packers fans reacted joyously to the end of McCarthy’s 13-season tenure.
NFL analyst and Hall of Fame player Shannon Sharpe thought McCarthy should have gone much sooner.
‘3-4 years too late, (in my opinion),’ Sharpe wrote on Twitter. Despite a Super Bowl triumph in the 2010 season and six division titles, McCarthy and Green Bay eventually fell short of expectations.
More was expected of a franchise led by Rodgers, a perennial MVP candidate, but the team’s bland offense often seen as a liability.
Rodgers accepted some of the blame after Sunday’s loss.
‘We’re just not on the same page consistently,’ Rodgers told reporters. ‘We’re not executing the right way and it’s the same stuff: poor throws, not on the same page with receivers, wrong depth, protection.’
The Packers’ crushing 2014 NFC Championship game defeat to the Seattle Seahawks, when they blew a 12-point lead with just 3:52 remaining and lost in overtime, is a prime example of their failures in the playoffs.
After that defeat, criticism of McCarthy’s play-calling seemed to grow louder each season.
With the Packers headed for a second straight year of missing the postseason, many Packers fans reacted joyously to the end of McCarthy’s 13-season tenure