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Mike McCarthy will regret handing off Packers' play-calling responsibilities

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Seattle head coach Pete Carroll took a ton of abuse for his decision to throw the ball on the goal line to Jermaine Kearse with the Super Bowl on the line instead of give the ball to power back Marshawn Lynch.

That decision turned out to be a disaster when New England rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson's pass and gave the Patriots the victory in Super Bowl XLIX.

While the decision was initially categorized as "the worst play-call ever," Carroll calmly defended the call and the firestorm has subsided.

Two weeks earlier, Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy found himself under the gun when his team blew a 12-point lead late in the fourth quarter against the Seahawks and cost themselves the NFC Championship.

McCarthy, considered to be one of the best head coaches in the NFL, took his foot off the gas pedal at the worst possible moment.

That allowed the Seahawks to gather momentum and get back in the game. When the Packers made a huge special teams gaffe and Brandon Bostick failed to recover an onside kick, that gave Seattle additional gas to pour on the fire, and they eventually burned the Packers to a crisp.

McCarthy is not one to cry in public over his pain. He has parted company with Bostick and special-teams coach Shawn Slocum, but he has also come down hard on himself.

McCarthy will no longer be the Packers' primary play caller. That responsibility will fall on the shoulders of offensive coordinator Tom Clements.

Prior to the loss in the NFC Championship game, McCarthy had not been the type to ease back when his team had the lead and look at the clock to try to bleed his opponent.

He had the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers, and he was not afraid to ask him to throw the ball downfield even if the Packers had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.

McCarthy had reasons to back off against the Seahawks. No team has the kind of attacking, aggressive and efficient defense to take advantage of mistakes the way the Seahawks do. No matter how good Rodgers is, he is not infallible and an interception or fumble at the wrong time could have given the Seahawks momentum that the Packers were incapable of stopping.

Of course, that's just what happened. The Seahawks didn't gain momentum from a turnover, they gained it from a three-and-out series in which Carroll used his timeouts to keep the Packers from taking significant time off the clock.

That was McCarthy's biggest mistake. His strategy of avoiding the turnover fell apart because he made Green Bay's dangerous offense one-dimensional, and it was easy for the Seahawks to stop the Green Bay running game and get the ball back quickly.

It was a brutal mistake and it cost the Packers as much as or more than the botched onside kick recovery.

But does that mean that McCarthy is not a great play caller and perhaps the best in the league?

His mantra in working with Rodgers has been to avoid interceptions and turnovers, and the quarterback has learned his lesson well. Rodgers threw 38 touchdown passes last year and just five interceptions, and while the quarterback deserves credit for that TD-interception ratio, so does McCarthy.

McCarthy and the Packers have reacted to their loss in the NFC championship game, but that reaction may not be one that helps the team in the future.

Clements has excellent credentials and may turn out to be a top-drawer play caller, but he has to prove himself.

McCarthy has been sensational in that role. Remember how the Packers performed in their Week 13 26-21 win over New England? That game was a chess match between McCarthy and Bill Belichick, and McCarthy got the best of the NFL's reigning grand master.

Nobody was more impressed than Belichick, who greeted McCarthy warmly after the game and was clearly impressed with the Packers and their gameplan.

It was the best-played game in the NFL this season.

If McCarthy can ace that exam against Belichick, he should not have taken drastic action against himself just because critics were upset with him for his mistake in the NFC Championship game.

The move could end up costing the Packers a lot more than one NFC Championship.

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Mike McCarthy will regret handing off Packers' play-calling responsibilities
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MEMPHIS, TN - FEBRUARY 19: Chris Hawkins #11, Trahson Burrell #0, Calvin Godfrey #40 and Pookie Powell #3 of the Memphis Tigers celebrate from the bench against the Connecticut Huskies on February 19, 2015 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis defeated Connecticut 75-72. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
SANYA, CHINA - FEBRUARY 18: In this handout image provided by the Volvo Ocean Race onboard Team Alvimedica, Seb Marsset drives south as equatorial clouds begin to appear on the horizon in every direction, the first signs of ITCZ convergence and volatility during Leg 4 from Sanya to Auckland on February 18, 2015 in Sanya, China. The Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 is the 12th running of this ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain on October 04, 2014, the route, spanning some 39,379 nautical miles, visits 11 ports in eleven countries (Spain, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, Brazil, United States, Portugal, France, The Netherlands and Sweden) over nine months. The Volvo Ocean Race is the world's premier ocean yacht race for professional racing crews. (Photo by Amory Ross/Team Alvimedica/Volvo Ocean Race via Getty Images)
PHILLIP ISLAND, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 20: Troy Bayliss of Australia rides the #21 Aruba.it Racing-Ductati Superbike Team Ducati Panigale R during the practice session for the World Superbikes World Championship Australian Round at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on February 20, 2015 in Phillip Island, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
MALMESBURY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: A skateboarder jumps from a ramp that has been erected inside the 12th century former Benedictine Malmesbury Abbey on February 18, 2015 in Malmesbury, England. For the seventh year running the abbey's interior has been transformed into a skatepark which will welcome youngsters from across the south west for three days to try the variety of ramps, quarter pipes, grinding rails and trick boxes underneath the famous Norman vaulted stone ceiling. . (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
FALUN, SWEDEN - FEBRUARY 22: Irina Avvakumova of Russia competes in the Mixed Team HS100 Normal Hill Ski Jumping during the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships at the Lugnet venue on February 22, 2015 in Falun, Sweden. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Cam Talbot #33 of the New York Rangers stops a shot in the third period against the Vancouver Canucks on February 19, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.The Vancouver Canucks defeated the New York Rangers 5-4 in an overtime shootout. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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WARSAW, POLAND - FEBRUARY 21: (EDITORS NOTE: This image was processed using digital filters) Team China compete in the Women's Team Sprint during day two of the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships at Stegny Ice Rink on February 21, 2015 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield - ISU/Getty Images)
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