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The Packers’ Embarrassment: A Case for Firing Mike McCarthy

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The Packers’ Embarrassment: A Case for Firing Mike McCarthy

Nothing about the Dallas Cowboys’ performance on Sunday was easy on the eyes.

Before they could blink, the Green Bay Packers — with a first-year starting quarterback, mind you — jumped on the NFC’s No. 2 seed with a 27-0 lead. Whenever it seemed like the Cowboys might make matters interesting, Green Bay returned with a resounding haymaker, eventually driving Dallas’ own fans to leave a postseason game with over 16 minutes (!) left. In hindsight, it is so poetic that the Cowboys became the first NFL team to lose to a No. 7 seed since the league expanded the playoff format in 2020. Of course it would be pro football’s premier punching bags suffering that kind of loss first. Of course they’d do it in a humiliating fashion.

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If you were surprised by the Cowboys’ ineptitude in a 48-32 loss, I’d urge you to change your tone. That final score is not nearly indicative of the Packers’ butt-whooping of their long-time NFC rival. This is par for the course for McCarthy’s Cowboys. Build lofty (but reasonable!) expectations, and lay a giant egg as soon as every game is sudden death.

And that is precisely why if the Cowboys aspire to end their 27-year Super Bowl drought, McCarthy can no longer be their head coach.

Since Mike McCarthy took over, the Cowboys have won 36 regular-season games in the last three years. They’ve captured two NFC East titles. They’ve developed blue-chip talents like Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb, and even Tyler Smith. For all intents and purposes, they have resembled a Super Bowl contender. On paper, this team has all the horses to win three or four consecutive games in the winter and eventually hoist a Lombardi Trophy in February. There is no debate. Many NFL coaches would likely kill to coach this kind of stacked roster.

Despite this reality, this iteration of the Cowboys owns just one playoff win over a washed-up Tom Brady. They have zero appearances on Championship Sunday, a blemish that long predates McCarthy, but, appropriately, hasn’t ended under his shaky watch.

Dearest readers, welcome to the McCarthy Experience.

McCarthy does deserve credit for changing up his postseason script. Usually, Cowboys playoff disappointments at least go down to the wire. It is there where McCarthy costs his team with questionable time management and play-calling. I would run out of fingers if I tried to count every instance McCarthy broke out into a flop sweat when he had to make a critical decision in a playoff game. He has a notorious but well-deserved reputation for self-combusting as soon as his players and coaches need him to be a leader.

He is a living, breathing meme of a coach.

But the Cowboys didn’t even bother letting McCarthy blow it on Sunday. An early 14-0 deficit felt insurmountable. The Cowboys’ body language on the sideline made it seem like they were already defeated. The audible frustration of their home stadium made it feel like fans knew a decisive knockout to the mat was inevitable. Because it was. This whole afternoon reeked of an organization being rattled by the slightest hint of adversity — the last trait you want when trying to capture that elusive Super Bowl championship.

That falls on McCarthy’s shoulders, too.

If a football team is a reflection of its head coach, then these Cowboys have captured McCarthy’s fragile essence perfectly. They are frontrunners who love beating up on bottom feeders and wilting under the bright spotlight. They take one punch to the mouth and drop to their knees to beg for mercy. The next big play a Cowboys player makes with the game on the line in mid-January will be the first in a long time. No one — and I mean no one — knows how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory quite like McCarthy’s Cowboys.

These Cowboys are McCarthy’s team — a bumbling loser propped up by one magical Aaron Rodgers playoff run roughly 13 years ago — through and through. If the reports are true, McCarthy’s final evaluation of his job did not go swimmingly:

Firing McCarthy now is a necessity. The Cowboys are not an over-the-hill squad. They have the pieces to make a run and shift their narrative as early as next season. With the right coach in tow, this organization might stop being the butt of the joke for the rest of the football world every year.

That’s what could make Sunday’s humiliation a blessing.

The Packers might have saved the Cowboys from themselves. They might have put a merciful end to the McCarthy era that was clearly never going anywhere.

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