The Green Bay Packers fired head coach Mike McCarthy, the team announced Sunday.
Green Bay lost at home to the Arizona Cardinals, 20-17, on Sunday, dropping its record to 4-7-1.
In a statement, president Mark Murphy said, “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.
“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.”
Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was named interim head coach.
Rumors have been swirling
There have been murmurs for weeks that perhaps this season, his 13th as head coach, would be McCarthy’s last with Green Bay. Once 3-2-1, the Packers have won just once in their past five games.
Still, it’s a surprise the Packers made this move now, given that they’ve seemingly – and proudly – been as bland as cold oatmeal for years.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that McCarthy was not expecting to be fired when he was summoned by team brass after the embarrassing loss to the Cardinals.
McCarthy and Rodgers were not on good terms
One person who likely won’t be upset that McCarthy has been let go is Aaron Rodgers, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Sunday.
Sports Illustrated posted a story this past week that highlighted the divide between coach and quarterback, which soured quickly this season. Here’s a sampling from SI’s Kalyn Kahler:
McCarthy, like Rodgers, is an alpha male. When people familiar with the two were asked to describe their relationship, most say it is defined by tension. Until this year, it was a healthy tension that lifted both quarterback and coach. In 2018, something has been different.
McCarthy is the play caller, but because Rodgers is so intelligent and such a good improvisational player, the quarterback has the green light to change plays on the field as he see fit. He does, so often that it can be hard for McCarthy to get into a rhythm as the play caller. McCarthy might call the same play three times in a game, without the play actually being run as he called it. And if McCarthy calls a play that Rodgers doesn’t like early in the game, that can sour the mood for the rest of the game. Several sources familiar with the inner workings of the organization say that it devolved into a competition over who can call the better play, and both want the credit when things go right.
“Aaron won’t be upset this story is being written and some of these frustrations are getting out there,” says a source close to Rodgers.
McCarthy got to postseason, won a championship
McCarthy, 55, was hired in 2006 as the 16th head coach of one of the NFL’s most storied franchises. He inherited a great quarterback situation, with Brett Favre the starter and Rodgers waiting in the wings.
After an 8-8 first season, McCarthy and Green Bay were 13-3 in 2007, losing in the NFC championship game to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
The Packers missed the playoffs in 2008, but in 2009 began a run of eight straight years in the postseason, with five NFC North titles in that time. They won Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but never got back to the league’s championship game on McCarthy’s watch.
There are some who believe Rodgers is the most talented quarterback to have ever played in the league, and a frequent criticism of McCarthy and the franchise is that they’ve wasted the best years of Rodgers’ career.
Green Bay was 125-77-2 overall during McCarthy’s tenure.
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