Posted on December 3, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Mike McCarthy era in Green Bay came to an unceremonious end Sunday evening. Almost immediately after the Packers lost to the Cardinals 20-17, McCarthy was informed that he was being let go. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will be the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
“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,” Packers President Mark Murphy said in a statement.
“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.”
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Obviously, firing McCarthy immediately after the Packers lost to an Arizona team that’s now 3-9 seems like a knee-jerk reaction. However, this move has been building for quite some time. Green Bay’s offense has struggled despite the presence of one of the game’s best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers. The relationship between McCarthy and Rodgers has also appeared to be rather rocky this season. Rodgers, of course, isn’t going anywhere, meaning McCarthy had to be the one to go.
While firing McCarthy seems like the right move, it could also be too little, too late. Sunday’s loss dropped the Packers to 4-7-1 on the season. They have now lost five of their last six games. Even winning their four remaining games may not be enough to get them to the playoffs.
Firing McCarthy now rather than waiting until the end of the season may not end up making much of a difference. However, getting it out of the way sooner rather than later could help the Packers finish the season with a little pride after Sunday’s embarrassing home defeat.
Of course, it’s impossible to talk about the dreadful end to McCarthy’s tenure in Green Bay without mentioning all the highlights. After taking over in 2006, McCarthy led the Packers to six NFC North titles, the most recent one coming in 2016. Green Bay went to the playoffs nine times under McCarthy. He was also the coach for their most recent Super Bowl win, as the Packers beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. While things didn’t end well, McCarthy’s time in Green Bay was very good to the Packers.
Where the Packers go from here is anybody’s guess. Bringing in an offensive-minded head coach seems like a given. The new head coach will certainly need to cultivate a good relationship with Rodgers. The star quarterback is 35 and at least starting to approach the end of his career. The Packers will surely want to find a head coach who can get things turned around quickly. Green Bay could be running out of time to chase another Super Bowl with Rodgers under center. Judging by McCarthy’s swift firing on Sunday, the Packers brass knows the clock is ticking.