Like most topics in sports and American culture in general, the hiring of Mike McCarthy as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys is a divisive subject.
There are two schools of thought.
1: McCarthy, a veteran NFL head coach, is a source of stability for the Cowboys after leading the Packers to 10 playoff wins including a Super Bowl in 13 seasons in Green Bay.
2: McCarthy, a rehashed NFL head coach, led the Packers to just 10 playoff wins and one Super Bowl victory in 13 seasons after being gifted a generational quarterback talent in Aaron Rodgers; his mediocrity is a perfect fit for the shoes that Jason Garrett left behind.
Count Brett Favre in Camp No. 1.
Favre: McCarthy ‘knows quarterbacks’
Favre quarterbacked McCarthy’s first two seasons in Green Bay before being traded to the New York Jets to mark the dawn of the Rodgers era. The Packers finished 13-3 in his final season in 2007 and lost the NFC Championship in an overtime heartbreaker to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
His recollection of McCarthy is fond, and he believes the new Cowboys head coach will be good for quarterback Dak Prescott. He said so on his SiriusXM NFL Radio show on Monday.
“Well I think, you know, Mike first of all has been around the block, at least with quarterbacks, dating back to Kansas City — one of his first jobs ever when Joe Montana was there,” Favre said, per a transcript on the Cowboys website. “So he knows quarterbacks.”
Favre appears to be equating McCarthy’s presence alongside greatness — Montana, himself, and eventually Rodgers — as expertise in the subject.
He then went on to explain why he thinks McCarthy will be good for Prescott.
Favre on McCarthy, Dak Prescott
“I think when he really examines and studies Dak, you know, Mike has his philosophy as far as offense is concerned, and I don’t think that’s going to change greatly,” McCarthy said. “But I do think what he’ll do is try to incorporate what Dak feels very comfortable with, what he does better — you know — in terms of maybe what Mike likes to call maybe is not exactly what’s great for Dak.”
So Favre believes that while McCarthy is set in his offensive ways, he’s pliable enough to allow Prescott to play to his strengths if they don’t necessarily align with his scheme.
It begs the question. What would Rodgers think of that assessment?
What would Aaron Rodgers say?
As the current quarterback of a Packers team preparing to host a divisional round playoff game, Rodgers is in no place to opine on the state of the Cowboys under McCarthy.
So we’ll have to go with what we know from their past together. And what we know is that Rodgers didn’t think much of McCarthy. Reportedly.
Rodgers never spoke so bluntly in public, but 2019’s damning Bleacher Report story detailing the pair’s relationship confirmed what was long assumed.
“Mike has a low football IQ, and that used to always bother Aaron,” that source said. “He'd say Mike has one of the lowest IQs, if not the lowest IQ, of any coach he's ever had.”
So here’s guessing Rodgers doesn’t concur with his predecessor.
Jerry Jones had tunnel vision in coaching search
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones insisted that Garrett’s replacement would be a coach with “extensive NFL experience,” apparently ruling out a promising assistant like Josh McDaniels or a successful college coach like Lincoln Riley or Urban Meyer. The report aligns with Jones’ self-professed disdain for college coaches learning on the job in the NFL.
Never mind that Jones’ only real football success as an NFL owner occurred when he hired Jimmy Johnson fresh out of Miami to build what would become the early ‘90s Cowboys dynasty that won three Super Bowls.
That relationship famously ended amid a bitter power struggle that apparently led Jones to the conclusion that college coaches are bad.
Is McCarthy a good hire?
It led to the type of tunnel vision that only NFL coaches will do, and Marvin Lewis — with his zero playoff wins in 16 seasons as Cincinnati’s head coach — deserved an interview over coaches with actual promise as an NFL coach.
Granted, the Lewis interview was just as likely an effort to meet the NFL’s Rooney Rule requirement — but that’s a digression.
Jones was determined to get a coach with plenty of NFL head coaching experience, and that’s a qualification McCarthy met. So McCarthy is the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
And the team’s official website is happy to glean comments from an old-school quarterback suggesting McCarthy is the right man to mold Prescott as he stands on the precipice of defining his NFL career.
As an NFC rival, Rodgers is probably just fine with the decision.
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