Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy entering very rare air among all-time NFL head coaches

Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy entering very rare air among all-time NFL head coaches

Quick, without Googling it, where does Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy rank among NFL head coaches in all-time regular-season wins?

The answer, despite the rumblings from some corners of the fanbase that have called for his dismissal after every one of his three seasons thus far in Dallas, may come as quite a surprise.

Entering his 17th season as a head coach, McCarthy’s regular-season record is 155-97-2.

Those 155 wins place him 20th all-time.


And, barring an utter catastrophe, the 59-year-old will likely move past a massive legend or two at some point during the 2023 season.

With three more wins, McCarthy will tie Bud Grant, the longtime Vikings coach who led Minnesota to four Super Bowl appearances.

Six victories will put him alongside Mike Holmgren, who is enshrined in both the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and the Seattle Seahawks Ring of Honor.

If the Cowboys can get to 11 wins this upcoming season, McCarthy will move into 15th place beside the legendary Paul Brown, a coach so enmeshed within the fabric of the NFL that he has a team named after him… as well as another team’s home stadium.

Of the 19 head coaches ahead of McCarthy on the all-time wins list, eight already have a bust in Canton.

It’s rarefied air indeed.

But his ascension to the Top 20 has seen McCarthy pass many coaching greats along the way, even if it happened somewhat unceremoniously.

He overtook Joe Gibbs, Bill Cowher, and Marv Levy just last season; all three are Hall of Famers.

And McCarthy had already blown by the likes of Tony Dungy, Hank Stram, Mike Ditka, Dick Vermeil, Don Coryell, John Madden, Bill Walsh, and a guy named Vince Lombardi.

Of course, coaching wins are a longevity record more than a pure measure of prowess, with the men who manage to stay on the sidelines for the most seasons rising to the top of the list. But not all NFL seasons throughout history are created equal. In Lombardi’s first season in Green Bay, a regular season was just 12 games. So yes, McCarthy and his contemporaries are currently getting five extra shots per season to notch an additional W.

With regular-season wins piling up at a faster clip for today’s coaches, it’s perhaps no surprise that so many of the names around McCarthy on the all-time list are current. He, Pete Carroll, and Mike Tomlin are all within eight victories of one another. Sean Payton and John Harbaugh both trail McCarthy by three and eight wins, respectively.

The Cowboys have fallen painfully short of the ultimate goal the past two seasons, and that’s ultimately how teams and coaches are judged and remembered. McCarthy would be the first to agree. But walking off the field a winner 155 times is no small feat, and as McCarthy keeps adding to that total in 2023, he’ll put himself in increasingly exclusive company.


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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire