In 2010, McCarthy’s Green Bay Packers beat the Cowboys 45-7, dropping them to 1-7. Wade Phillips was fired after that game. Phillips was replaced on an interim basis by Jason Garrett, who did well enough to get the job permanently.
Garrett had that job until Sunday night, when he was fired by the Cowboys. He was let go, in large part, because he didn’t have enough playoff success. The Cowboys made the divisional round three times with Garrett, losing in the fourth quarter twice. Those two close losses were to McCarthy and the Packers.
It’s not like Jerry Jones could forget those moments. When he rushed to hire McCarthy as his next coach Monday morning, it’s curious to think how McCarthy’s big moments against Dallas led to him being the team’s ninth head coach.
Packers had two big playoff wins over Dallas
Two of the better playoff games from the 2010s were Packers wins over the Cowboys in the divisional round.
The first was the infamous “Dez caught it” game at the end of the 2014 season. Dez Bryant caught a huge fourth-down catch down to the 1-yard line with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys trailed 26-21. But a wise challenge by McCarthy led to a replay review and the play being overturned, as officials ruled Bryant didn’t complete the catch. Cowboys fans still complain about the call. The Packers took possession and never gave the ball back.
Two years later, the Cowboys and Packers played another postseason thriller. That was Garrett’s best team. Dallas went 13-3 in the regular season. In the final minute the Cowboys forced a tie on a field goal and appeared to be headed to overtime. But Aaron Rodgers made an unbelievable throw to Jared Cook to set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal as time expired.
Had the Cowboys won either game, they’d have gone to the NFC championship game and had a good chance to advance to the Super Bowl, something that hasn’t happened for Dallas since the 1995 season. And maybe Garrett would still be Dallas’ coach.
Mike McCarthy was Jerry Jones’ choice
Jones wanted a coach with experience, and McCarthy has that. He also has a Super Bowl ring, and Jones was clearly familiar with that. McCarthy’s Super Bowl win came when the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. That game happened at new AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, a palace nicknamed “Jerry World.”
McCarthy also gave the Cowboys a heartbreaking regular-season loss at AT&T Stadium, when Rodgers hit Davante Adams in the final seconds of a 2017 game. It’s not like Jones didn’t recall that game, Super Bowl XLV in his new stadium, the 45-7 drubbing that forced a midseason coaching change or the two playoff losses to McCarthy and the Packers. He wouldn’t hire a coach just because of that, but it had to stick somewhere in Jones’ mind when he honed in on McCarthy as the next man to lead his franchise.
Now Jones hopes McCarthy has big success with the Cowboys, after having plenty of success against them.
– – – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports: