At some point during that odd week in which Jason Garrett hadn’t been officially let go as Dallas Cowboys coach but was clearly not coming back, owner Jerry Jones asked Garrett about Mike McCarthy.
Who knows how awkward that moment was, but what Garrett said might have helped Jones make his quick decision to hire the former Green Bay Packers coach.
“One of the biggest things that impressed me was I told Jason Garrett I was going to be visiting Mike, before I had the visit,” Jones said at McCarthy’s introductory news conference. “He said, ‘You’re not going to meet anybody any more special than Mike. I love his story, I love him, he’s great.’ Give you an idea of a class act, that’s it right there, in both cases.”
Say what you will about Garrett, but that’s a pretty telling moment.
Mike McCarthy knows what Cowboys job entails
McCarthy will find out soon what Garrett experienced for most of a decade: It’s a pressure cooker being the coach of the Cowboys.
McCarthy isn’t totally unfamiliar with that situation. He coached the Green Bay Packers, and that market is intense. McCarthy didn’t back away from the expectations associated with the Cowboys job, referencing the Super Bowl a couple times.
“I won my first Super Bowl here in North Texas at AT&T Stadium, and I just want to tell you I’m anxious and excited to get to work on winning the next Super Bowl for the Dallas Cowboys,” McCarthy said, referring to the Packers’ win over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
McCarthy talked about how he grew as a coach in his year off. He watched coaches film all year, looked at trends, and said he rebuilt everything from his first talk to a team to how he’s structure an analytics staff. He talked about how proud he was to be the new coach of the Cowboys, how impressed he was with Dak Prescott and how Ezekiel Elliott will get the ball.
And it all came back to one theme.
“The goal will never change here,” McCarthy said. “It’s about winning championships.”
All smiles at McCarthy’s news conference
Before the serious business of chasing a Super Bowl starts, there were some light moments during the news conference. The best moment came when McCarthy was asked if Dez Bryant caught it — a reference to a controversial playoff game at the end of the 2014 season when McCarthy’s Packers beat the Cowboys and the pivotal play was a reversal of a Bryant catch.
And McCarthy hedged his bets a bit but said that no, Dez didn’t catch it, under the rules then.
“It was a technical rule at that time, since then Stephen [Jones] has gotten it changed on the competition committee,” McCarthy said. “I can’t tell you how many people from Dallas have told me about that play. It’s funny. It was a great catch, I can say now, but it wasn’t then, technically.”
It was all smiles on Wednesday. McCarthy jokes that he fibbed a bit when he told Jones he’d watched every single play of the 2019 NFL season, Jones told a rambling joke about “hearing bells” when he hired McCarthy, and everything seemed great.
That will change a bit when the games start. There will be times when McCarthy is questioned after a Cowboys loss. He understands the pressure. And he knows what the expectation for him is.
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