Was keeping Mike McCarthy the right decision

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy looks on from the sideline during an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium on January 14, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.

It does not appear significant changes will be happening for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason. Following an embarrassing wild-card-round exit from the playoffs, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Mike McCarthy believe things are heading in the right direction. They said as much last week after it was announced McCarthy would be returning for his fifth season.

 

“There is great benefit to continuing the team’s progress under Mike’s leadership as our head coach,” Jones said in a statement Wednesday. “Specifically, there are many layers of success that have occurred this season as a result of Mike’s approach to leading the team, both with individual players and with our team collectively. Mike has the highest regular-season winning percentage of any head coach in Cowboys history, and we will dedicate ourselves, in partnership with him, to translating that into reaching our postseason goals.

 

“Certainly, Mike’s career has demonstrated postseason success at a high level, and we have great confidence that can continue.”

While speaking with reporters Thursday, McCarthy told fans to buy into what they are building

“We have an unbelievable fan base, and they should be frustrated,” he said. “We’re extremely disappointed. Disappointed for them. Disappointed in our performance. But my message would be this. We have established a championship program. It’s just not the world championship yet.

 

“We know how to win. We know how to train to win. We have the right people. But we have not crossed the threshold of winning playoff games. It’s extremely disappointing to be sitting here talking about it. But I know how to win. We will get over that threshold. I have total confidence in that, and that’s why I’m standing here today.”

 

To gauge how Cowboys fans are feeling, we published a 12-question survey Thursday. The voting ended Sunday morning. We received 1,944 responses. Some did not answer all, but every question received at least 1,908 responses.

 

Here are the results.

 

1. Was keeping Mike McCarthy the right decision?

Yes

484

25.1

No

1,250

64.9

Undecided

191

9.9

A total of 1,250 voters said it was not the right decision. In McCarthy’s previous three seasons, Dallas won 12 games each year and won the NFC East twice. But they have won only one playoff game, last season in the wild-card round at Tampa Bay. McCarthy is entering the final year of his contract.

 

2. Who would have been the best head coach for the Cowboys among these options?

Mike McCarthy

225

11.8

Bill Belichick

398

20.9

Jim Harbaugh

500

26.2

Dan Quinn

42

2.2

Mike Vrabel

405

21.2

Ben Johnson

85

4.5

Bobby Slowik

101

5.3

Raheem Morris

14

0.7

Deion Sanders

36

1.9

Pete Carroll

52

2.7

Eric Bieniemy

28

1.5

Nick Saban

22

1.2

With Bill Belichick being available, it was no surprise that the six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach and three-time NFL coach of the year was a popular choice. But it is somewhat surprising that he finished third in the voting. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who has not coached in the NFL since 2014, received 500 votes. He is fresh off winning a national championship with the Wolverines. Mike Vrabel, who went 54-45 with two playoff wins in six seasons with the Tennessee Titans, received seven more votes than Belichick.

 

3. How many games will the Cowboys win next season?

13 or more

110

5.7

10-12

1,499

77.5

8-9

300

15.5

Less than 8

24

1.2

Most Cowboys fans are projecting a regular season that looks similar to the previous three. Nearly 1,500 votes for a 10- to 12-win season, which would likely mean a fourth consecutive year with a playoff appearance. Twenty-four voters predicted less than eight wins. That’s the type of disaster Jones is hoping to avoid by deciding to keep McCarthy and the majority of the team together.

 

4. How far will the Cowboys go in the playoffs next season?

Won’t make the playoffs

184

9.5

Lose in wild-card round

797

41.3

Lose in divisional round

657

34.0

Lose in NFC Championship Game

186

9.6

Lose in Super Bowl

22

1.1

Win Super Bowl

86

4.5

The majority of voters believe they will not go any further than the divisional round, which makes sense considering they haven’t in the last 28 years. A somewhat surprising 86 voters say the Cowboys will finally make that deep playoff run and win the Super Bowl.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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