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McCarthy Starting To Get His Due

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McCarthy Starting To Get His Due

As a long time Mike McCarthy defender, things like this from CBS Sports' Pete Prisco make me happy:

Now it's time (McCarthy) gets the credit he deserves for being a damn good football coach. We talk about the Packers and it almost always comes back to Aaron Rodgers. And while this is indeed a quarterback league first and a coaching league second, it's time to give McCarthy his due.

Counting the postseason, he has won 12 consecutive games. That ties a Packers record for a coach with the guy they named that big silver trophy that champions get after -- yes, Vince Lombardi.

Green Bay fans revere their coaches. From Lambeau to Lombardi to Holmgren, they are put up there with snow blowers in terms of Wisconsin love. They name streets after them. McCarthy is getting there in terms of fan devotion.

McCarthy had to deal with the Brett Favre situation early in his Green Bay career and did a nice job making his way through that minefield without much collateral damage.

With Rodgers, he is now assured of being in Green Bay for many years to come. It's a coach-quarterback league, which means they are linked. Yet it seems that whenever anybody talks about the Packers, they focus only on the quarterback and not on McCarthy.

He's 6-0. He has a ring.

Not bad for a guy most of Wisconsin didn't even want (don't lie now and say you did either).

While I will admit to being surprised at the McCarthy hire at the time, I'm proud of the fact that I've been in his corner pretty much since the beginning.

Oh sure there are some game day decisions I will question in the heat of the moment and I'm as likely as the next fan to pull my hair out when he's butchering the clock at the end of the first half (love ya Mike - but it's the truth) - but I've been defending McCarthy from fans and media alike for years now.

Mike McCarthy is proving to be the absolute perfect coach for the Packers. He works in perfect concert with general manager Ted Thompson, almost always has his finger squarely on the pulse of his team and he's made his quarterback, the most important player on the team, into an extension of himself out on the field.

The only question that seems to remain is his legacy - how good can he and, by extension, his team be? Will he end up producing a couple of championships to leave behind in Titletown? Or will he be, to quote the inimitable Ron Wolf, another "fart in the wind" - a coach who won a title, maybe came close to another one, and then fell back to the middle of the pack with the rest of his coaching brethren.

I tend to think McCarthy is much closer to the former than the latter. In fact, I can't think of another head coach in the NFL I'd rather have in Green Bay - and yes, I include Bill Belichick in that assessment.

All in all - it's just nice to see a guy who has busted his butt in near anonymity for most of his professional life start to get the attention he deserves. In a league where coaches are attacking each other post-game (remember how McCarthy handled being snubbed by Childress? That's called class) it's good to see the good guy getting his due.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (66) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

BrianG's picture

I love it, Aaron. Do YOU consider him at the top of the league in terms of play-calling?

PackerAaron's picture


al's picture

Agreed, top 3 I would say.

LucasRichmond44's picture

Even after the shot gun pitch to Kuhn? LOL

PackerAaron's picture

HATE that play. Hate it. Hate, hate, hate it. HATE IT.

But I love Mike.

Point Packer's picture

That play forced me to look like a big douche at the Seattle bar I watch the Pack at. In other words, loud rambling/screaming at the TV, spit, f-bombs, told to shut-up, etc.

Hate that play love MM.

baboons's picture

My reaction to McCarthy's hire was "who"? I think I'm most impressed by his game planning. This run of wins has seen a confident Offense going out just knowing they have what it takes to unlock the opposition, no matter which players are going to get the call. Long may it continue.

PackersRS's picture

I've called for his head, but oh boy was I wrong. I thought he couldn't motivate this team after the TB loss in 09, yet another underachieving performance by the Packers (like against Cincy, Detroit, Washington, Miami...). I thought he got too caught up in the strenghts of his team and couldn't make adjustements when those were failing (against DET, the OL could not block anyone, yet time and time again McCarthy was calling 7 step drops and obvious run plays, when the quick passes out of the shotgun were working, as evidenced by McCarthy's gameplan against the Patriots, which consisted basically of quick passes out of the shotgun).

Well, in the playoffs last year, McCarthy showed how good a coach he was. His gameplan was perfect every single game, from riding the run against Philly, to spreading the Falcons, to working playaction against the Bears.

And now, we're seeing a whole new McCarthy. This team responds to him, he doesn't get rattled, he keeps them focused and prepared. And now that his OL is able to block properly, the vertical passing game is virtually unstoppable, as nobody works the medium and deep patterns as well as the Green Bay Packers.

It's one crow I'm gladly eating. Anyone that dares to question MM's position ends up looking like a fool.

It's not that McCarthy didn't have serious issues, and I still contend he did. But it was shortsighted, to say the least, to question the direction of this organization.

bomdad's picture

Yeah, lining up empty backfield, inside his own 3, against the Vikings with Allen Barbre at RT.


bomdad's picture

Its hard to take when Pete says Wisconsin "didnt want him." Most fans didnt know who he was, and were familiar with Childress only because he was OC at UW.

And Paul Chryst makes people forget Childress in a hurry.

JerseyAl's picture

Too bad that was written by Pete Prisco, who is an idiot. I care for little he writes. This would be an exception.

PackerAaron's picture

Wow. Could not disagree more Al. Is Pete abrasive? Absolutely. But he's far from "an idiot."

JerseyAl's picture

Ever read his post on soccer in the USA? Downright ignorant...

PackerAaron's picture

I don't read him for soccer insights. Lots of guys who cover the NFL, who I respect greatly, hate soccer. So what?

But I guess we've uncovered where your disdain is coming from... ;)

JerseyAl's picture

There have been others, but that was the big one, for sure. I don't like writers who have the arrogance to spout off on subjects they know little about and act as if they're opinion is the only right one. And that doesn't just go for sportswriters, either.

BTW, set your calendar for next year's #throwbackweekend...

PackerAaron's picture

"I don’t like writers who have the arrogance to spout off on subjects they know little about and act as if they’re opinion is the only right one."

Yet you continue to give me the time of day... :)

PackersRS's picture

"There have been others, but that was the big one, for sure. I don’t like writers who have the arrogance to spout off on subjects they know little about and act as if they’re opinion is the only right one. And that doesn’t just go for sportswriters, either."

But that doesn't make him a bad football writer or an idiot.

Just makes him an arrogant prick.

JerseyAl's picture

And I prefer not to support anything arrogant pricks do.

Tommyboy's picture

Spot on. I've been the lone McCarthy defender at work for years. I think the guy BLEEDS football and is damn smart. He doesn't do himself any favors to be recognized nationally by staying to the script, emphasizing fundamentals, and giving bland press conferences, but his record speaks for itself.

Ride him for a decision here or there, but I swear, the next time I hear "fire McCarthy" after he runs it in the 4th quarter, I'm going to snap.

Tommyboy's picture

I'll add this - the dude says "football team" way too damn much.

Bearmeat's picture


If you add the phrases "pad level" and "we'll get that fixed" you're spot on.


Tommyboy's picture

fair point.

D.D. Driver's picture

Is there where all of the defenders brag? 'Cause: me too.

Hell, I even engaged in a semi-epic flame war in defense of McCarthy (which I'm somewhat less proud of).

I think so much of McCarthy's under ratedness has to do with his regular-dude persona. If he were more fiery or cocky he would get more recognition. People just have hard time accepting the fact that THAT guy with THAT voice and THAT cadence is one of the best coaches in the game.

PackerAaron's picture

I can vouch for your McCarthy Defender Credence. ;)

And thank you so much for linking back to that PG post. Good times.

I especially like Steve calling you "a tool" and then writing, apparently without irony, a few comments later: "One of the things we have gone out of our way to do is to avoid the silly, juvenile namecalling that characterizes so much sportsblogging in general and, in particular, the comments sections of many football-related websites."

Simply. Hilarious.

Bearmeat's picture

I just remember the sinking feeling after the 2 Viking losses to Brett in 09, and Toad from Minnesota - the Viking troll... coming on and labeling TT/MM as the problem while simultaneously praising the Queenies "Triangle of Authority" as the way to do things in the NFL.

I remember feeling just terrible that day. I remember seriously thinking he might be right.

Boy is that a laugher in hindsight!

TT/MM! Way to go! (now just get a couple more pass rushers) ;)

bigfog's picture

I wonder what ever happened to that guy. Dark times, but pretty funny in hindsight.

Tommyboy's picture

He's the guy still showing in his alternating #4 jerseys and explaining to his teacher that the Packers would have won 3 straight super bowls if Chilly would have been hired instead of MM.

He also has yet to feel a boob.

Bearmeat's picture

LOL! +1 Tommy.

Maybe he still lives in his mom's trailer?

packsmack25's picture

Here's the thing....

Ted Thompson is not - nor has he ever been -short-sighted. McCarthy WAS a bad coach at times early in his career. Most GMs WOULD have fired him. But Thompson saw the "big picture" that McCarthy was striving for, saw that it matched his own, and gave him time to be a better coach.

A great coach looks to improve himself before he looks at improving his team

Bearmeat's picture

Of course, no one except the people directly involved in the front offices at Lambeau know this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you might just be dead on here...

Good post.

Big Mikey's picture

I concur, Doctor.

MOBSD's picture

MM would consider any talk of his greatness a "polluted mindset". He's just focused on the Vikings.

Very proud that Mike McCarthy is the coach of my favorite team.

Cole's picture

I agree with packsmack. What I'm most impressed with in McCarthy is his ability to see his own flaws and gradually become better and better. He doesn't just stay the same like Norv Turner. Even from last year to this year, the offense is magnitudes better. And I love his philosophy of stacking success, not only for football but for life in general.

Cole's picture

The one knock on McCarthy--to this point--is the decision to keep Slocum around. There's just no evidence that he can put together a good unit of ST, not even flashes of excellence.

Tommyboy's picture

I used to defend Slocum, too. I just can't bring myself to do that anymore. That all ended with that O-lineman damn near carrying a loaf of bread to the house on us last year. I obviously can't put all the blame on that play on Slocum, but I have anyway. He seems like a good guy, but ST in GB doesn't appear to be working out.

fish/crane's picture

? Certainly much improved this year...thanks a bit to the fact that we rarely punt and Crosby kicks it out of the end zone.
A TD return on kickoff and an onside kick surprise- along with defensive onside kick recoveries and improved punt returns and few penalties...I think for now- you are out of punching bags.

Tommyboy's picture

I'd say that's a stretch. The two biggest helps the Packers got on ST this year is moving the ball up 5 yards and drafting Reggie Cobb. Slocum has some influence on Cobb, obviously - although I'd argue that even on his return, that was talent and a miracle move that got him in the endzone. I'm sure Slocum wasn't excited that he took it out at all.

We're also having a tough time getting Masthay going. Not all of that can be put on Slocum, but I think many of the improvements can ultimately be explained outside of coaching...just my two cents.

fish/crane's picture

And he loves and lives Green Bay. Doesn't plan on going anywhere- even after ending his tenure with the Packers...which is hopefully 20 plus years down a road filled with Lombardis.

Norman's picture

I loved the way he showed (deservedly so) confidence in his football team last year, from the comments re. the New England game, refusing to accept a moral victory after playing the Pats close without Rodgers ("We're nobody's underdog"), and I could literally sense the confidence in the team growing from that point forward.

My favorite McCarthy quote:
"We respect Pittsburgh, but we feel that this is our time and Sunday will be our night."
After hearing that, I just knew the Packers were going to win.
No ifs, ands or buts, not "we're happy to be here" or crap like that, and I just loved the moxy of measuring the team for their Super Bowl rings the night before the game. That wouldn't work with some teams, they would become overconfident, but I think McCarthy sensed this team was great and just needed to believe in themselves a little more. This year's team doesn't need that, so he's pushing different buttons. I think we'll look back in 20 years and really appreciate what a great coach we have (and hopefully still have in 20 years, but not in Al Davis-like fashion!).

djbonney138's picture


FITZCORE1252's picture

Here's the deal, we hired an Offensive coordinator for the worst offense in football... yeah, I wasn't geeked.

But I gave him a fair shot from day one, I watched him close, his mannerisms and what not, he has grown on me as well as grown into being a complete coach. I LOVE his demeanor, the way he carries/handles himself, he doesn't get too high with the highs or low with the lows, he's a level headed, no nonsense, tough son of a bitch from Pittsburgh. He has really proved himself to me over the years and I wouldn't trade him for another coach in the league (even the Hoodie). Love the guy... in a totally hetero way of course.


FITZCORE1252's picture

I also LOVE when the camera catches him cussing into his headset after a botch or bad play or bad call. "That's fucking bullshit"... He gets pissed, but doesn't turn into a little bitch about it, my kinda guy.

Oppy's picture

Here's the (real) deal, though, Fitzy..

We hired an offensive coordinator who spent one season... ONE season.. attempting to revamp an offense at SF, and the result was the worst offense in football.

McCarthy was a virtual prodigy, however, as the OC in New Orleans, the gig he held for several years previous to SF. The Saint's offense under MM racked up a number of franchise record marks.

MM's one year in SF was the battle-cry of the Thompson haters when MM was hired, and when it was brought up, NOBODY wanted to talk about MM's success in NO. It wasn't convenient for many of the haters.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Super. Just saying, he was the OC for the worst offense in Football. Eyebrows were rightfully raised. You telling me you were stoked with the announcement? Be honest Oppster.

PackerAaron's picture

You only had to look at the work McCarthy did in New Orleans and then look at his year in San Fran to know he had completely dialed back everything to about as rudimentary a level as possible, The "talent" level on that 49ers team was abysmal.

Oppy's picture

Stoked? No, I wouldn't say I was stoked. But I wasn't concerned or worried.

I looked at his resume' and felt that he was qualified but unproven as a head coach- a guy who was ready for the opportunity- and willing to see what he could do.

As an OC, I felt no reservations what so ever. What he did at NO was impressive. Different guys around the league had good things to say about MM as well.

Nononsense's picture

When TT was interviewing canidates for the HC position I prayed (and im not religious) that he wouldn't hire Brad Childress. The guy I wanted to see get hired was Sean Payton because of his ties to Parcells and his offensive mindset.

When he hired the unknown McCarthy, I was a little disappointed but I trusted that TT knew what he was doing. I felt justified with my choice of Payton after the Saints won the SB but never bemoaned the fact that he hired MM instead.

I have never once called for TT or MM to be fired, not sure how many people can say that but I know I can.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Anybody catch Total Access today? They did a comparison of Burt in his prime to #12 right now, #12 has the stats. Then they interviewed Sterling and he pretty much dismissed them all. I dunno, I think it's a little too early and even though I don't like who he became, I do remember what an absolute stud burt was in the day... give it a few more years, then we can talk. Very interesting though.

Tommyboy's picture

A portion of that is up at

What did Sterling say? Did he pick one or conclude that it's simply too early to tell?

Kendra's picture

He pretty much said that anyone who believed that Aaron was better than Brett ever was (as was argued in the clip package stating "facts"/stats about their respective careers) was foolish. He said a few other things that I didn't quite understand (Brett being chosen vs. Aaron being ordained) but essentially it was pretty dismissive of the argument. I do think he mentioned something about waiting until Aaron played twenty years and then they could revisit the conversation.

Sterling loves himself some Favre so I didn't really expect him to agree but for the most part, I agree with him that it's kind of foolish to take the clip package as evidence. For one, they compared Aaron's last sixteen games and to Brett's full seasons. In other words, if they were to make the argument, they'd have to find Brett's best sixteen game stretch, even if it crossed two seasons, and compare it to AR's past sixteen games.

FITZCORE1252's picture

"In other words, if they were to make the argument, they’d have to find Brett’s best sixteen game stretch"

Can't remember if they took his best 16 game stretch or best statistical season but they did put burt's best 16 against #12's. Burt threw 39 TD's to 13 picks (which leads me to think they took his best season, not best consecutive 16... was it '96 he threw 39??? can't recall, too lazy to research), #12 36 TD's to 8 picks over his last 16. Bert threw something like 4,400 yds, #12 4,700 over his last 16.

FITZCORE1252's picture

84 shows 12 plenty of love if you ever see him talk about this team, nobody can dispute that, but in this comparison the stats clip was making it to be clear cut that #12 was "better now than bart ever was" actual quote sans the bart (think they called him something else). 84 basically called bullshit, citing that barts' was a totally different situation and 12 was groomed for this. And really it was, he was. I'm still kinda leaning towards 12 though, he's just not gonna exacerbate a bad situation by throwing into triple coverage and crossing his fingers, to me that's what separates the two. Bert was a bad mother tho, can't deny the man that.

djbonney138's picture

Were they going in the direction of "Aaron just lucked into this stacked team..." kind of thing? Because if anyone is trying to say Ryan Leaf could have just been plopped in and do what Aaron has done they are high. Aaron is awesome and we are lucky to have him. I wish these comparison pieces would just disappear.

Kendra's picture

No. That wasn't the argument. Both the clip package, which made the argument, and Sterling acknowledged that both QBs were really really good.

Sterling did say something about them being in different situations but he didn't really expand on that. I don't know if he was referring to the talent level surrounding AR, the rules changes or something else. I didn't really take it as a way to diminish the numbers Aaron put up but to point out that some of the stats, out of context, don't offer the full picture.

Mostly, I got the feeling that Sterling bristled at the idea of putting one QB, the newbie, over a [tarnished] legend instead of judging them more equally.

PackersRS's picture

The argument that Sterling used and that I find to be complete BS is that this team is much better than the teams that Favre played, that this team is loaded and that's why Rodgers' stats are this good.

First of all, the 96 team was first on defense, offense and ST. Desmond Howard won games by himself. We do not have that, not even close.

Those teams were as loaded as this one, they had great weapons, and they had a very good running game, something this team hasn't had so far.

And, most importantly, it's not just stats. It's what Aaron is doing. Favre was a miracle worker, he made something out of nothing. But he also, in a lot of times, made nothing out of something.

When you analyze their games and compare, Rodgers is better.

Rodgers' arm strenght is as good as Favre's, his accuracy is better, his mobility is better, his decision making is better, his pre-snap and post-snap reads are better, his pocket presence is as good as Favre's now, and his poise and leadership are better. And let's not even compare postseason performances, because then it's not even fair.

You can't compare careers, because Favre did it so well for so long.

But as far as QB play, right now, Rodgers is better than Favre ever was, I have no doubt about it.

Idiot Fan's picture

You may be right (and I'm a huge #12 fan), but using stats to back it up is very misleading. The rules have changed since the mid-90's, all in favor of making it easier for offenses, especially passing. The tail end of BLF's career was under the newer rules, but those MVP years were not, making it a difficult comparison. I do agree that it's ridiculous to say that 12 just has a great team. That '96 team was stacked.

PackersRS's picture

Some stats are misleading.

1.9 Int% isn't. 1 int in his career in the redzone isn't.

And, like I said, it's not just stats. The guy is just a better QB, particularly in his decision-making.

Bohj's picture

Nice to see your coach develop over time. Great progression for a first head coach position. Obviously winning a superbowl puts one in a great light, but there's something methodical about this guy's routine and structure of this team that speaks volumes. Just the way he approaches scheduling is genius. Tuesdays with McCarthy has given me an even deeper respect for what this guy has done with our franchise. A must read for any packer backer.

nerdmann's picture

I loved the MM hire at the time. Aaron wouldn't be who he is today without MM there to groom him.
I didn't like the emphasis on "smaller quicker" offensive linemen, but I liked that he was a QB guru and WCO proponent.
Thing is, I've actually become more critical of him since. I think he's helped out ALOT by TT's drafting and personnel moves. ALOT. Then there's Capers.
Is MM a very good coach? I think so. But there are actually people who believe he purposely holds back his true game planning until the post season. His teams traditionally tank between week 4-week 10.
I'm not gonna complain, because the organization as it stands is a dynasty. MM's a great guy and definitely "Packer People." I think the team loves and respects him. He's definitely getting it done, that's for sure.

rjw's picture

To McCarthy's credit, he looked in the mirror and improved his coaching. His attention to fixing the penalties, prioritization toward special teams, the use of no-huddle are examples of a willingness to change his approach. He doesn't fall in love with his ideas but observes, listens and learns.

CSS's picture

Openly admit I was anxious and frustrated at times with McCarthy. Learned my lesson about the importance of continuity on both your roster and among the coaching staff.

That being said, here's how the annoying conversation always went with the anti-McCarthy crowd.

Them: 'He just doesn't get it, needs to be fired.'

Me: 'Why do you want him terminated?"

Them: 'rabble rabble rabble...' (obvious there was no reasoning, therefore jump to the big question...)

Me: 'Fine, who do you replace him with to get better results?'

Them: Gruden! Mariucci! Cowher!

Me: (no pleasantries, simply walks away laughing at extremely dumb brand-names)

Jer's picture

People also tend to forget he didn't just suddenly find success last year and the beginning of this year. From the last 4 games of his first season as head coach through his 2nd year, the Packers were 18-4 including playoffs, and nearly making the Superbowl.

Much like Rodgers gets most of the glory now, Favre got the glory then. But he's had 2 incredible stretches with 2 largely different teams in the span of just a few years. The only blemish on his resume is that 6-10 season and those were unusual circumstances to say the least.

Oppy's picture

I love McCarthy because he's such a progressive, forward thinking coach.

His attention to detail is superb. He and his staff think outside the box. Every season they are tweaking the minutia of OTAs, training camp, practice structure, drills, training, rehab, travel details.. It seems no stone is left unturned.

I know all coaches look for any and all advantages for their respective teams, but I do think that the great majority of them fall into preconceived notions of "how you do it", and I have always loved the fact that MM and his staff firmly believe in constant, honest self evaluation and self scouting in all aspects of the organization, and are not only open to change and improvement, but embrace it.

I'm an O.G. TT/MM backer, too. And I also take issue with MM from time to time, as well. Sometimes, I think he's perhaps prone to a bit to much machismo in his play calling, for example. But ultimately, I think he's a great coach and he's still getting better. I also love the fact he's neither intimidated or threatened by the presence of greatness in his ranks (Trgovac, Capers, Perry, Moss, etc), and that he's nuturing enough, and secure enough, to openly promote them to the league, often stating those assistants could/should be hired as Coordinators or head coaches somewhere in the league...

McCarthy really does have a great opportunity to become a long term coach in Green Bay, much like Cowher was in Pittsburgh.

Idiot Fan's picture

Your ideas intrigue me, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Tommyboy's picture

LOL. Sweet Simpsons reference.

Point Packer's picture

Ok, this is slightly, if not way off topic, I'm just going to take a second to tell all the people from the WI and National sports media to "suck it" for making a BS story out of the fact that the Packers didn't do any player run practices during the lock out. The "suck it" also goes out to all those guilty of whining about it via comments on this blog. Interestingly, the sky has still not fallen and the Pack are the only undefeated team in the N-Frickin-L.

Despite the absence of such quality player practices, we're doing ok.

PLEASE NOTE: I am not aiming this comment at the fine folks of Cheesehead TV as I don't think anyone assocated with the day to day upkeep of this site made a deal of the whole situation. I could be wrong. And if I am, I'm certain to see a link as a response to this garbage I've just typed.

Finally, I'd just like to conclude this off topic spontaneous rant by thanking Coach McCarthy for kicking Burt out of town. Thank you Coach.

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"The Bears still suck!"
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."