By Nick Freimuth
After 13 season coaching the Green Bay Packers including a Super Bowl victory and four NFC championship appearances, Coach Mike McCarthy was fired Sunday night following a 20-17 loss to the then (2-9) Arizona Cardinals. The move was only shocking in the swiftness of the firing. The Green Bay Packers now (4-8-1) have been known to move at a glacial pace in similar situations ala general manager Ted Thompson over the past handful of seasons.
Coach Mike McCarthy (125-77-2) certainly drew the ire of many fans since his last Super Bowl appearance in 2010. His quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) taking shots at him in post game press conferences this season certainly made the cries for his job even louder by the fanbase. The human component is always the most difficult side of a firing, however.
In his 13 years, Coach Mike McCarthy made many great friends in Wisconsin but especially in Door County where he and his wife Jessica and their daughters Gabrielle and Isabella had their second home and a boat slip at one of the public marinas. His countless Door County getaways may have come to an end with his release Sunday night as Coach McCarthy will be a very hot commodity on the open market. A likely landing spot for one of the greatest coaches in Packers history is Cleveland. With a bevy of former Packers front office members and players the Browns will certainly be targeting the veteran coach.
His ties to Door County may be best illustrated by the stories shared by the Sarkis Family. Megan Sarkis said Sunday night, “Coach Mike would call occasionally to check up on (her late husband) Jim and to find out how he was doing not only with his health but also to check up on his family and try to talk about regular things. Their conversations were about their true passions in their lives (their families). Mike McCarthy was so easy to talk with, so kind and generous in his time and his charitable giving.”
McCarthy was loyal to his players to the very bitter end. It would be impossible to find a quote from the coach that put the blame on a player. Last season McCarthy took responsibility for backup quarterback Brett Hundley “not being properly prepared to take over the team.” McCarthy wore that the entire season even as the fans grew louder and louder. When Green Bay played the Seahawks in Seattle just weeks ago, McCarthy sent Hundley (now a Seahawk) a text message after the game that was filled with love and appreciation for the young quarterback. The text took Hundley aback. Never did the former Packers QB expect such a sincere and thoughtful message especially after the Seahawks had just beat Green Bay.
Stories like these make the character component the hardest part of the story. Mike McCarthy was “Packers People.” The organization has believed that the character of the man is of utmost importance. Coach McCarthy’s character was never in question over his 13 years in Green Bay.
The Packers had this release sent out by President and CEO Mark Murphy:
The Green Bay Packers have parted ways with Head Coach Mike McCarthy and named Joe Philbin interim head coach, President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Murphy announced Sunday.
“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers. As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately,” Murphy said. “Mike has been a terrific head coach and leader of the Packers for 13 seasons, during which time we experienced a great deal of success on and off the field. We want to thank Mike, his wife, Jessica, and the rest of the McCarthy family for all that they have done for the Packers and the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities. We will immediately begin the process of selecting the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers.”
The picture was the final shot taken of McCarthy at the podium as head coach of the Green Bay Packers. He was finishing his final answer to the media and moments later walked out of the media auditorium for the very final time as Packers Head Coach.