He will enter his third year at the helm this season, having gone 18-15 during his time in Dallas. While at face value, going from 6-10 to 12-5 seems excellent, there’s more to it than that.
Yes, the win total doubled, but no one is talking about that. Everyone is discussing the Cowboys’ failure to win a playoff game. Even during the season, McCarthy was often criticized for his coaching, especially for Dallas’ high penalty rate.
It’s safe to say his job isn’t 100 percent secure. So, is his hot seat burning?
If the Cowboys don’t return to the playoffs this season, I’m willing to bet a majority of the fanbase will call for his head. Even if Dallas does make it to the playoffs, you may still hear those calls if the Cowboys fail to win a playoff game.
McCarthy certainly has the roster to make a playoff run. He’s got a franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott, two of the best offensive linemen in the league in Zack Martin and Tyron Smith, a promising young wide receiver and cornerback in CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs, a veteran leader on the defensive line in Demarcus Lawrence and a superstar linebacker in Micah Parsons.
In addition, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, one of the league's best assistant coaches, is back. He also has Kellen Moore as an offensive coordinator again, and while he was shaky last season, he’s still great on his best day.
And it’s not like Mike McCarthy can’t win games. He’s one of four coaches in NFL history to make eight straight playoff appearances with one team and won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 2010. But, the question is whether he can do that now.
If he doesn’t, McCarthy could be on the unemployment line. Success in Dallas is still measured by championships, despite the 27-year drought of not winning one. To many fans, pundits and analysts, a deep playoff run is required if McCarthy wants to keep his job.
Potential replacements would line up, too. Quinn could easily be promoted to head coach if McCarthy gets canned, and plenty of others would jump at the opportunity as well. Getting the chance to coach the world’s most valuable sports franchise doesn’t come around often.
In my view, he’s been given the tools to succeed. With the talent surrounding him, it’s all on McCarthy. He’s got no excuses this season.