Mike McCarthy and I have two things in common: we were both born on November 10th (different years) and neither one of us is the coach of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers have always been my favorite team, and from my teen years spent in Dallas (I went to high school in Plano, Texas) I learned to loathe the Dallas Cowboys. Still do. So it was interesting to me when I found out yesterday that, of all people, the former Green Bay coach was headed to Jerryworld.
Friends of mine from North Texas wanted my opinion on the McCarthy hire, given all my years seeing his coaching style in Green Bay. I told them my true thoughts: that McCarthy will be good for the Cowboys in the short run but if the coach reverts to the same issues he had with play-calling and sitting on leads hoping his defense will close it out - sometimes before the 4th quarter even starts - that could come back to bite 'em. But overall, I think for the Cowboys it's a good pick to shake things up.
The opinions in the media in Dallas and around the country are mixed, but mostly optimistic. The Dallas Morning News said "Jerry Jones could’ve made a more exciting hire than Mike McCarthy. He chose the right guy for the Cowboys instead." Which means a lot in Dallas, where sizzle often gets more attention and credibility than the steak.
The Dallas Morning News also said, in a different article, "Landing Mike McCarthy is either brilliant or uninspired, depending on which extreme of the social media spectrum you inhabit. In terms of available candidates with NFL experience, none has a more accomplished résumé. The learning curve a coordinator might require as he makes the jump to head coach holds no allure for the Jones family at this stage. Neither does the transition from being a successful college coach."
CBS Sports reported on Coach McCarthy's new way of doing things: "McCarthy has spent the past several weeks telling any journalist who will listen about all the learning he did throughout his season away from football. In interviews with NFL.com, NBC, and The Athletic, McCarthy detailed his extensive plans for a football technology unit and an analytics department, both of which represent significant departures from the way he operated in Green Bay."
The Washington Post shared their thoughts on the hire, saying it "makes sense" but it's "not a home run." But they also noted the analytics piece: "The Cowboys could be getting an updated version of McCarthy," which given his seemingly new philosophies and stress on analytics, could be true.
That, in my opinion, could make the biggest difference. "Analytics" is a big buzzword in the NFL right now, and is part of the reason teams are more often going for it on 4th down and going for two-point conversions versus the extra point kick (the kick itself being a longer distance than it used to be also plays a role, of course.)
Hey, you can even read about it in Spanish if you want!
The L.A. Times noted how different the ownership situation is between Green Bay and Dallas: "Without question it’s a challenging situation for McCarthy, going from a franchise with no owner, per se, to a club led by Jerry Jones, one of the most high-profile owners in sports."
Meanwhile, former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett could be headed to the New York Giants as an assistant coach. He actually grew up in that area.
Interesting times in football. And we're just hangin' here in Wisconsin, ready to watch the Packers take on the Seahawks Sunday!
Photo credit: Tony Gutierrez/AP