After finally getting around to confirming the firing of Jason Garrett, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones made it clear the successor would be someone with extensive experience as a winning NFL head coach.
That seemed to whittle the candidates down to one apparent name. And on Monday, the Cowboys moved on him by naming Mike McCarthy as its next coach.
The hiring was first reported by Fox News.
McCarthy comes to the Cowboys after 13 years as coach of the Packers, who dismissed him 12 games into the 2018 season. McCarthy interviewed for head coaching positions in 2019, but was passed over by the Jets, who hired Adam Gase. So he took the season off.
Before taking the Cowboys position, he’d also interviewed this season with the Giants, Panthers and Browns. But the deal with Dallas was wrapped up during a weekend stay at Jones’ home in Texas.
Multiple reports have indicated the Cowboys also had interviewed former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. But in McCarthy, who won 125 games with the Packers, the Cowboys are getting someone who coached nine teams into the postseason and won Super Bowl XLV.
McCarthy is considered one of the NFL’s brightest offensive minds and it certainly will be interesting to see who he hires as his offensive coordinator and what they do to take Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott to the next level.
Jones seemed very happy with first-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, but it’s too early to say whether that would have any influence on the construction of McCarthy’s staff.
As it is, McCarthy did much of the play-calling in Green Bay. But by the end of his stay, McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers seemed to be heading in different directions philosophically and some point to that as the reason the Packers ultimately decided to part ways with their coach.
Garrett, who coached the Cowboys since 2010 an was 85-67, fell out of favor after watching his team start the 2019 season 3-0 and then failing to make the postseason. According to NFL statistics, the Cowboys were 1-6 in one-possession games, behind only the Bengals, who were 0-8.
And Garrett could not win this season despite Prescott throwing for over 4,900 yards to two 1,100-yard receivers. Elliott also surpassed 1,300 yards for the league’s No. 1 total offense.
According to ESPN, the Cowboys interviewed 10 candidates in 2007 – the last time they hired a coach, following the retirement of Bill Parcells. They settled on Wade Phillips. Garrett was the Cowboys offensive coordinator in 2010 when Jones fired Phillips.
Late Monday afternoon, the NFL Network reported that Mike Nolan, the current linebackers coach of the Saints, would serve as McCarthy’s defensive coordinator. McCarthy was the offensive coordinator when Nolan coached the 49ers in 2005 before the Packers hired him to be there head coach one year later.