Although “extraordinarily disappointed,” the owner/general manager of the Dallas CowboysJerry Jones announced that the possible firing of head coach Mike McCarthy is “not on the table” following the team’s 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC wild card round.
“I don’t even want to discuss something like that at this particular time. … That is not on the table. The game speaks for itself,” Jones told reporters after the loss, via Mike Fisher of SI.com.
The game certainly spoke for itself and said nothing kind about McCarthy, whose offense was outscored by San Francisco, 341-307 yards, and whose team racked up an astonishing 14 penalties, tying his own team’s record for a playoff game set in 2010, according to Statmuse, and ranking just second behind the Los Angeles Raiders for the most penalties in a game in the NFL playoffs. It was the fifth time this year that Dallas was tagged more than 10 times, a scathing accusation for the coaching staff.
“It’s penalties, and it was self-inflicted,” commentator Tony Romo said after the match, via CBS Sports. “It was an almost…sloppy lack of mental focus. So many penalties before the snap. … You can’t have that many and expect to beat good teams and the Cowboys really hurt themselves today.”
Problems that metastasized during the regular season killed the Cowboys in the opener of the postseason, which ended with a brutal clock-management blunder by quarterback Dak Prescott, prompting the AT&T Stadium faithful to throw beer bottles and other items at the players as they ran into the tunnel.
Exactly three weeks after claiming the NFC East title, the now 12-6 Cowboys were sent home for the winter, extending the franchise’s Super Bowl drought much longer.
“Extremely disappointed. Very disappointed. Disappointed for our fans. … This is pretty disappointing,” said Jones, via Dallas Morning News.
McCarthy is not worried about the future
Rumors of McCarthy’s firing have been swirling since the conclusion of Dallas’ COVID- and injury-ruined 2020 campaign, which the club finished 6-10. They reached a high point in the fall of 2021 after the Cowboys lost three of four games, but cooled off in recent weeks as the Silver and Blue climbed into the playoffs.
Such speculation will intensify again in the future. But to McCarthy, who signed a five-year contract at the time of hiring, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, he is not bothered by reports of his possible demise.
Fire McCarthy to keep Quinn?
“Why? Well, from what I understand, the Joneses love that McCarthy coordinator, and Dan Quinn has already attracted a lot of interest as a head coach for other teams (the Dolphins, Jaguars, Broncos and Bears have all turned up for interviews).” Breer wrote. “It should be noted that the Falcons are still paying Quinn, so the Cowboys can’t really give him a raise to entice him to stay. Would they make him the head coach to guarantee it?
“Ultimately, I don’t think they’re going to go through with something like that,” Breer continued. “I remember when they were in that kind of place in 2008, losing a coordinator that they really liked (Jason Garrett), and they did everything they could, at least monetarily, to keep him from going to Baltimore or Atlanta. But they didn’t really pull the plug on Wade Phillips for another two and a half years after that. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were tempted to do so.”