Mike McCarthy, head coach to the Green Bay Packers for 13 seasons, was fired Sunday after a devastating 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at home, dropping Green Bay to 4-7-1. The move was announced by team president Mark Murphy following Sunday’s loss. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will be filling in as the interim head coach for the time being, according to Murphy.
Murphy, in a statement, said 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.” You can read the full statement below:
“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,” Murphy said. “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.”
McCarthy Was Head Coach for 13 Years Before His Termination
McCarthy was in his 13th season with Green Bay, after taking over coaching the team in 2006. The Packers won the Super Bowl under McCarthy in the 2010 season, finishing 31-25 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. McCarthy finishes his tenure with a 125-77-2 regular season record and a 10-8 mark in the postseason, according to NBC Sports.
The move to fire McCarthy before the end of the season was “almost unprecedented,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Schefter notes that this is the second time in league history where a Super Bowl-winning coach was let go mid-season, citing Colts head coach Don McCafferty’s termination in 1972. As McCarthy was reportedly “blindsided” by the decision, many fans of the coach were left wondering why Murphy didn’t wait until after the season to fire him, out of respect for McCarthy.
Packers Players Responded to McCarthy’s Firing, Sharing Emotional Tributes to the Former Head Coach
Packers players are responding to the firing of their now-former head coach, sharing emotional tributes to McCarthy and expressing shock and disappointment at the news, including Packers safety Josh Jones and defensive lineman Dean Lowry. Jones said he “never thought it was possible” that they’d fire McCarthy, despite the poor season.
“I never thought that it was possible,” Jones said, according to WBAY. “I never thought of that scenario with him being fired. It’s the nature of this business, especially when you have a losing season like this and with such high expectations with an organization like this. It’s high standards, and when we fall short of that, it’s consequences.”
Jones defended McCarthy, saying that the blame shouldn’t be completely put on him: “His success, throughout his years here in Green Bay, he is a great coach. When you have a losing season like we have, obviously all the blame is put on him, but all the blame shouldn’t be put on him. He’s not the one that goes out there and performs. We do. It’s tough.
“All of those guys in that locker room, since they have been here, have only known one coach,” Jones continued. “That’s Mike McCarthy. I honestly wish him the best. I appreciate everything he has done for this team.”
Packers defensive lineman Dean Lowry said that they Packers “all played hard” for McCarthy, and that he is a great coach whom Lowry is sad to see go.
“I would just say he was a great coach,” Lowry told WBAY. “He helped bring me to Green Bay. He drafted. He was a part of that process but you just have to keep fighting. Coach McCarthy, we all played hard for him. The past two weeks didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to but he’s a great coach and a great person too so it’s sad to see him go.”
McCarthy Hasn’t Released an Official Statement Yet, Although He Says He is “Focusing on His Family” For Now
Although McCarthy hasn’t released an official statement as of Monday, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports did catch up with him not long after the news broke.
“Just talked to Mike McCarthy,” Glazer wrote on Twitter. “Had nothing but praise for the Packers organization. ‘I’m proud I was part of the Packers family, proud to be part of such a great organization.’ Said his main focus tonight is his family.