On Tuesday it was announced that the Green Bay Packers had extended Mike McCarthy’s contract as head coach through the 2018 season. This effectively keeps the trifecta of him, Ted Thompson and Aaron Rodgers together for another four years and sets McCarthy up to be the second-longest tenured head coach in Packers history. For some fans, this is excellent news for the storied franchise; yet, there are others who couldn’t be more disheartened.
My question this week, then, is this:
Was extending Mike McCarthy’s contract the right move for the Green Bay Packers?
In this installment of the Packers Beer Mug Perspective, we’ll take a look at the issue from both angles, and then determine whether our mug is really “half empty” or “half full.”
THE MUG IS HALF FULL
Mike McCarthy has a lot of things going for him at this point, one of which being his career winning record with the Packers. Since becoming head coach in 2006, McCarthy is third in winning percentage (.643) behind only the Indianapolis Colts (.662) and New England Patriots (.781). Add in the postseason, and McCarthy’s teams are 93-53-1 across eight and a half seasons.
Within this career record are some other impressive numbers. McCarthy brought the Lombardi Trophy back to Titletown at the end of the 2010 season, and he followed that up with a 15-1 season, which broke a number of franchise records. Under his watch, the Packers have been NFC North division champions four times and have made the playoffs six times, including the past five consecutive seasons.
In the NFL, winning is everything, and Mike McCarthy’s record shows that is something he is good at.
THE MUG IS HALF EMPTY
For as important as winning is, though, the Super Bowl represents the pinnacle of success, and Mike McCarthy only has one appearance to his name. Furthermore, McCarthy’s teams have never won more than one playoff game outside of that 2010 season, and in three of their six appearances, the Packers were sent packing after the first game.
With a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers on the team, it’s frustrating to see such underwhelming performances in the postseason, and it leaves Packers Nation wanting more from the team and the head coach. As nice as it is to be a perennial playoff contender, no one wants to have an Andy Reid or Norv Turner as their head coach. No one wants a regular season king but playoff jester.
Part of the problem has been the defensive struggles starting in 2011. While Dom Capers is greatly to blame, the buck stops with Mike McCarthy. Will he do what is necessary to right the ship in the coming years?
GETTING THROUGH THE FOAM
Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson, and Aaron Rodgers as a team represent a high level of consistency for the Green Bay Packers. They all share the same vision and goals for the team, and while they might have their disagreements, they know how to work through them and maintain a positive relationship. They are complementary parts working in tandem. You can’t say that about many teams. (I’m looking at you, Jerry Jones and Jim Harbaugh.)
Another sobering fact is that 21 of the 32 NFL head coaches are currently in their third year or less. Turnaround is high, and that creates a level of inconsistency that breeds multiple problems.
No perfect coach exists. Those who pine for someone new will find a level of disappointment no matter who they turn to. I can’t think of a better fit for this organization than Mike McCarthy right now, and so I think his mug is definitely half full.
However, I also feel that McCarthy needs to prove some things in the remainder of his contract. He needs to show that he can make a serious run in the postseason. Even if it’s not a Super Bowl appearance, the Packers should be NFC Championship contenders more regularly. If McCarthy can do this, it will increase his value as head coach and improve his standing among the discouraged fans.
If not, then we’ll be looking for a new mug in four years.——————Follow @ChadToporski