Mike McCarthy Used Legendary Tactic to Inspire Cowboys’ Week 11 Win

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy

Getty Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy

Just call him Mike Gallagher …

… because Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy used the famed comedian’s iconic routine to fire up his squad ahead of Sunday’s 31-28 upset of the Vikings.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero first reported that, “to emphasize their objectives,” McCarthy wielded a sledgehammer and smashed watermelons during Saturday’s team meeting in Minnesota. “Players roared, then responded with an inspired win,” Pelissero noted.

McCarthy later confirmed the act to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“I think like anything in this game, it’s important to have fun,” he said Monday. “You’re always trying to create emphasis in your messaging. That’s really where it came from. We were just using the approach to honor the great comedian Gallagher and it’s an idea that came up and we went for it. The players were into it.”

“It was just all part of the messaging so we had a number of points of emphasis that we were trying to hit so a number of guys got to participate and once again I’d say it was a lot of fun. It was well received.”

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McCarthy walloped a few watermelons before passing the sledgehammer around. It eventually landed in the hands of star defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who destroyed the final melon “with the objective of stopping” Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, the NFL’s leading rusher entering Week 11, according to Hill.

It worked, for the most part, as Cook was “held” to 115 yards on 27 carries — a massive improvement from the 307 ground yards Dallas surrendered to the Browns in Week 4. The previously-moribund club played inspired football from the opening whistle, culminating in a fourth-quarter comeback that moved the 3-7 Cowboys to within one game of the NFC East lead.

And with a Thanksgiving showdown against 3-7 Washington looming, McCarthy did not rule out a repeat watermelon massacre as a means of motivation.

“That’s a great question,” McCarthy said. “We obviously have been fighting and scratching. The players have been great. So hey, if it’s not broke don’t fix it.”

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McCarthy Details Tactic Planning

The watermelon-smashing routine sent a message that deeply resonated with Cowboys players, including linebacker Jaylon Smith, who was so pumped after Sunday’s victory that he predicted an undefeated stretch run over the remaining six games.

Apparently, though, this wasn’t as simple as merely purchasing the fruit and any ordinary implement with which to strike. As McCarthy explained, it was a pain-in-the-you-know-what to pull off such an act on the road, in the not-so-friendly confines of the team hotel.

“The key is you got to have a good hammer and we’re fortunate enough to where we were able to find one,” he said, via the Star-Telegram. “We had to actually take our own watermelons with us because it’s a little harder to find big watermelons in Minneapolis this time of year than Dallas, from what I was told. We were able to get it done right and the cleanup was efficient. The hotel was a little concerned there. We had a great time with it.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL