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Mike McCarthy speaks: "It couldn't have been handled any worse."

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Mike McCarthy speaks: "It couldn't have been handled any worse."

Former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy recently sat down with ESPN's Rob Demovsky for his first sit down interview since being fired. 

While McCarthy takes the high road for most if not all of the time he answered Rob's questions, it's pretty clear he was no fan of the way he was treated at the end of his Packers tenure. 

In particular, McCarthy seemed stunned at how his dismissal was handled. 

It couldn't have been handled any worse. Anytime you lose a close game, it's a difficult time emotionally afterwards, but when you lose a home game at Lambeau Field in December, it's really hard. And that hasn't happened very often. I walked out of my press conference, and I'm thinking about the game, thinking about how our playoff shot was now minimal. That's where my head was at. And when I was told Mark Murphy wanted to see me -- and the messenger was cold and the energy was bad. Mark said it was an ugly loss, and it was time to make change. He said something about the offense and the special teams, and he didn't think it was going to get any better. There was no emotion to it. That was hard.

McCarthy had more pointed words for Murphy regarding the Packers president and CEO saying the team had become complacent and lacked accountability at the end of McCarthy's time in Green Bay. 

When you throw out words like complacency and accountability, that bothered me. That's not accurate. I'll be first to say that coaches are in the business of being criticized. We deal with it on a daily basis. But when you throw out a statement like that, you better have it right.

Despite the apparent tension between the CEO and his former coach, McCarthy is actually very complimentary of Green Bay and the Packers throughout the interview, which includes his thoughts on his relationship with his quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. 

Be sure to read the entire interview, which is very much worth your time. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (49) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

zoellner25's picture

MM sure is pissed about the way he was fired, but he should've been fired a few years earlier. Complacency and lack of accountability started with keeping Dom too long years ago and never looked back.

BoCallahan's picture

Two things stand out to me from the interview:
1) I appreciate Mike’s approach to releasing players. He always said that it was the worst part of being a coach. This interview reinforced what I have often read about him, that he cared about the individual even in the releasing process. That same respect wasn’t shown toward him in his release. Shame on you Murphy.
2) Wow, what a comment by his wife.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Comment by his wife.

Yeah really, she's spot on. I went to read it afraid to see Mrs Bielema 2.0 but no. She hit the nail on the head.

Golden Retriever's picture

I was surprised to read how cold Mark Murphy was when he fired McCarthy. He could and should have done it in a more humane manner. The more I learn about Murphy as a person, the less I like him.

sonomaca's picture

I was surprised McCarthy wasn’t let go at the same time as TT. The truth is was given one more chance than was deserved.

Hawg Hanner's picture

Keeping Dom was misplaced loyalty for sure. Was there ever a more forlorn, beaten down looking guy than MM on the sidelines last year?
Sure he worked his ass off, gave it his all and gained a lot of weight but after so many years you hit the wall and he did. I was all for pulling the plug now. Bob McGinn, in order to be always the opposing voice, said he disagreed with that. McCarthy's sad appearance begged for it.

Handsback's picture

TT was replaced, and MM's team wasn't a playoff contender anymore. All that said, it probably needed to be done at the end of season.

kevgk's picture

Watching the Packers come out and cream the Falcons the following sunday made it very clear why he was fired. I doubt they win even one more game with MM, the team clearly had nothing to play for.
Let MM gripe about it now, but it was better for the team and probably better for his career too.

GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

The fact that he didn’t see it coming is part of the problem he doesn’t get it!! He doesn’t get anything! He should have been fired at least 3 years earlier!! Bye McDufus!!

Tim Bruce's picture

I'm glad Mike did an interview. Good coach, good person, had a moment of greatness that only the smallest percent ever attain. Cheers and GOPACKGO!

Since '61's picture

Like most businesses the NFL is a results centric business and the results were no longer there with MM.

I think MM is a good football coach and overall he did a good job for the Packers while he was in Green Bay. He overcame numerous injury riddled teams and less than stellar rosters after Aaron Rodgers and his team still reached the playoffs in 9 of his 13 seasons as HC.

His team's were usually left at least a player or two or more short thanks to TTs lack of participation in FA. We'll never know how much of the Packerrs success was due to Rodge rd but for sure Assistant coaches like Capers, Slocum, Zook and Moss were allowed to linger far too long.

I wish MM well and I appreciate his efforts as Packers HC. Good luck to him and his family. Thanks, Since '61

Montana's picture

I agree with that assessment 61. MM had a better reign that most coaches. Keeping Capers and some of the coaches you mentioned were questionable.

We can hash and rehash the what ifs along his tenure including TT but in the end historically MM was a good coach. I too had reservations along the way but as fans we enjoyed a long run of playoff football albeit the end results didn't meet our expectations. It's easy to second guess from the stands and hindsight has never lost.

I am grateful MM was at the helm even though I harbored disappointments and frustrations along the way. I wish MM and his family all the best.... Benediximus.

sonomaca's picture

He wasn’t a bad coach, but neither was he a great one. His major failing was that he really couldn’t adapt to changing times, and he was too slow to dismiss underperforming assistants.

Another problem is how to handle a QB who is pretty clearly his intellectual superior. Rodgers, like many really smart people, is impatient with lesser lights.

egbertsouse's picture

He never saw it coming. Wow, his sense of entitlement left him totally clueless. He needed to go.

shmelbs's picture

I didn't get a sense of entitlement from his interview at all. He pretty much says he saw the writing on the wall in regard to his job. What he didn't see coming was getting fired before the season ended, and immediately after a painful press conference.

He probably should have been let go sooner, maybe even years sooner, but he didn't deserve to be let go the way he describes it. I'm thankful for his contributions and wish him nothing but the best.

egbertsouse's picture

He lost a home game to the door mat of the League in December during a “prove-it” season and he was surprised. I wonder if he was surprised when it snowed in GB in January?

shmelbs's picture

I understand the outrage. McCarthy frustrated me a lot, too, especially in the last couple of years. But again, the interview doesn't indicate that he was surprised at the firing, he was surprised at the timing and the manner of the firing.

McCarthy's always shown himself to be an honest, straight shooting, committed, and motivated guy. He had his faults, to be sure, but if it was a "prove it" year, why would he, or any NFL coach for that matter, suddenly grow complacent or suddenly feel entitled to favoritism from his bosses? I think he did the best he could. It wasn't good enough, so he was fired. He did a whole lot of great things before that, though, so I'm grateful for that, and I wish him well. If you're going to be mad, maybe be made at McCarthy's bosses for not letting him go sooner (and more respectfully).

Old School's picture

He should coach the Vikings and stick it to the GM. Hell, one year in Minnesota is worth 10 in Green Bay. [/sarcasm]

I was looking at his's entirely possible he'd never been fired before, from anything. I've fired people, and I've been fired, and trust me...… could have been worse. It's never fun being fired, and he wouldn't be human if he didn't have some hard feelings, but success is the best revenge. He'll get another job if he wants it and then we'll see what he can do without Aaron Rodgers. Personally, I think he'll do a pretty solid job for whoever hires him.(Dallas, probably).

Nick Perry's picture

McCarthy will want some control over personnel and after working with Thompson for his last 4 or 5 seasons in GB it's understandable. There's no way he'll go to Dallas and work for a guy like Jerry Jones IMO. But I agree with you...I think he'll do a solid job wherever he decides to coach. I also think the options will be plenty.

jannes bjornson's picture

U of Pittsburgh is about right.

GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

I will translate- the “results” couldn’t have been any worse for “McCarthy”

he was totally complacent and thought the gravy train would continue forever even with his lack of results. What a joke this guy is. GB finally did what needed to be done for then best interest of the team.

sam1's picture

Fans like you are the kind the Packers don't need, you think you know it all from the lack of knowledge and hatred in your posts! You sound like Trump with your childish nicknames!

Barnacle's picture


Why don’t you take your liberal hatred to a left wing chat room. I do not give a crap about your juvenile opinion of Trump.

sam1's picture

Ask me if I care about your moronic statements!?

MarkinMadison's picture

No politics please. This is my escape from politicians.

the real russ letlow's picture

Good interview. Getting fired from any job sucks, so I get what he is saying. Seems that Mike has a great wife and family who love him, a year "off" to spend with them and many more blessings in his life. Good luck to you in future endeavors coach!

stockholder's picture

Family! What a great interview. Denial and safety for his family were obvious. Great coaches always get a second chance. He'll find his way.

wildbill's picture

I get people’s thoughts that he should have been let go a few years ago but let’s give this man his due. He won a Super Bowl and has always been a class act and a great representative of what I feel is the Green Bay Packer Community. I feel it was the right move but it bothers me when people use very derogatory, personal, names to attack him. Let’s thank him and remember him for all the great games he gave us and not dwell on the times we felt he came up short. Go Pack Go!

Old School's picture

Gary Payton coached the Saints to three straight 7-9 seasons and kept his job.

I think I finally understand what Murphy meant when he said "We need a new messenger". Not that the message was bad, or the talent was bad, but the messenger (McCarthy) was being tuned out by the star QB, and perhaps others as well. There's been plenty of anecdotal evidence that the Rodgers/McCarthy relationship had become dysfunctional and as a consequence.....we needed a new messenger.

All this other stuff about stale playbooks, incompetence, etc., is just stuff people make up so they sound like they know more than they do.

cuervo's picture

"All this other stuff about stale playbooks, incompetence, etc., is just stuff people make up so they sound like they know more than they do."

Actually once he was fired, numerous players came out to talk about the complacency and lack of accountability that had been allowed to grow within the organization. Players also came forward with what they deemed to be a stale and unimaginative playbook. Maybe they were all wrong and McCarthy was correct....but I doubt that.

It will be interesting to see what the actual market is for him next year...considering there was only 1 team this year that would even interview him, my guess is that the opportunities won't be as great as some expect.

For most of his tenure, he was a good coach, and seems to be a decent person.

MarkinMadison's picture

"considering there was only 1 team this year that would even interview him, my guess is that the opportunities won't be as great as some expect."

He put out that he was only interested in coaching the Jets this year. Not sure why he picked that team.

cuervo's picture

Uhhm...because they were the only ones interested in him at all. There was no market, so he came out and claimed that was the only team for him.

Fudog's picture

Gary Payton was a point guard. Sean Payton coached the Saints.

jannes bjornson's picture

When Brees goes, Payton goes. Tied to the hip. Payton did create new looks and restored the Saints running attack.

NJMagic's picture

Want to echo the general sentiment from those who've been long time fans... and remember the years when the playoffs alone were a dream. MM coached the team well for many years, if you want to talk about entitlement, talk about entitlement of the fans to believe a Superbowl is easy and Rodgers years were quote wasted.

I also just want to echo that one of the things I love most about the coach was that he cared about his players as people not just investments.

I don't get the sense he was entitled at all but I do think Murphy could have waited until Monday, there is a right way and a wrong way to fire people, and even in season it didn't have to be right after that awful loss and press conference.

Great job, very good coach, well deserved respect, I wish him all the best.... In the AFC.

shmelbs's picture

Very well said, NJMagic. I wish I could give your comment more than one thumb up.

Curt's picture

Decision was made - didn't want to wait. I understand both sides. Never gonna be a good way to fire someone.

Good luck to MM - in his early years did a great job and his resolution resulted in a number of victories due to his resolve.

In retrospect, later on, his resolve became more of a liability as coaches around him were either not as skilled or unable to get him to adjust game plans....his loyalty worked against successful results.

ILPackerBacker's picture

Just imagine a world where a real reporter could do these interviews.

Where instead of hearing MM comment on his wife's feeling about the home and then asking nothing....imagine if MM were asked if it were accurate at home how accurate was it at work? Was it after math of the seattle melt down?

How about accountability and MM saying SB is the goal every year? Or the carpet bagger specifically talking about bad special teams and a decade of terrible special teams under MM?

Lphill's picture

This is because he should have been fired after the Seattle fiasco . he must have felt like he could never get fired.

Packer Fan's picture

Thompson had lost his edge in drafting players. McCarthy had lost his edge as an offensive guru and coach. Keeping Capers too long because he lost his edge and didn't use his players in the best way. Then to lose them and they become two all pro defensive backs. After the debacle in Seattle in 2014, they went on a down hill slide to the point that the last two years, they are not a good team. McCarthy is angry, but he had a lot to do with himself getting fired. Murphy waited until the season was lost to fire. MM had to have an inkling. Philbin didn't change things around because the players weren't good enough and the scheme was old.

I like what Gute is doing. I am hoping and expecting a pleasant surprise from the draft. What we will have to do is wait until the end of the season to see if Lafluer and Pettine can put a competitive and exciting team out there.

Razer's picture

Problems started with TT's decline (health and performance). A strong GM would have kept the team well stocked and the coach tuned up. It was obvious with Capers, Winston Moss, Perry, WR coach and the ST coaches that McCarthy wasn't taking care of business and Ted wasn't alert enough. The only other safeguard was Murphy and he let the whole thing run a couple of years too long. Lot of failures stacked.

They could have let the season run out, got a higher draft pick, saved some face for MM and still got their coach. Murphy is a little too swarmie for me, always trying to be the man. Just reinforces that football is a business full of human frailty and egos.

Nick Perry's picture


buddrow53's picture

Defense and not so special teams were bad for years. Coaches should have been replaced long ago.

No good back up QB not enough depth.

Blame goes to MM and MM and TT.

I liked McCarthy as a standup guy but way too rigid in his coaching. Some would say stubborn.

nostradanus's picture

Come on Big Mike, shut your Cake-Hole and preserve your dignity.

Unfortunately your stubborn ways of hanging onto bad coaches, coordinators and failure to innovate got the best of you.

It doesn’t mean you were a bad coach you just didn’t adapt to change very well and it got you canned, move on man.

Mojo's picture

Always thought that McCarthy was a man of good character. I know he worked his ass off and cared about his players and staff. But the loss to Arizona with Rodgers at the helm, was god-awful. One of the worst from an execution standpoint that I've seen in years. And it was a culmination of steadily declining play for almost two years. Some kind of change was in order.

And speaking of Rodgers, it would have been nice if Demovsky would have asked MM how often ARod audibled out of plays MM would have preferred he ran. I believe GB had the lowest run rate in the NFL last year (an amazing low 32.5%). That suggests to me the QB changing run plays to pass. It's OK if it works, but it wasn't.

To me this is the crux of the matter going forward. If LaFleur can't corral him, all the influx of FA's and draft prospects won't be enough to win another SB.

4thand1's picture

Good read, in the end MM was to loyal and to nice of a guy. Capers and a few others were there to long, and TT didn't do MM any favores. How he handled Rodgers? He said it himself, he let Rodgers control the line of scrimmage. So if AR checked out of plays, who got the blame when the play didn't work? He should have been able to call out AR in private team meetings if his way didn't work. I guess we'll never know, but that was a big part of losing the team IMO. Nice guys finish last, except the lolions kept us from the bottom.

4thand1's picture


sam1's picture

Just wonder what these sites will look like if ML goes worse w-l record than MM did in his last 2 seasons if even one is worse. Should be interesting! Believe me I hope like heck it doesn't but will be good to see excuses then! I still believe most of last season was on Rodgers and his wanting MM gone!

MarkinMadison's picture

No coach's time ever ends well, or it wouldn't have ended. But there were some pretty awesome parts. Thanks for the years MM.

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