Jerry Jones needs to fire Mike McCarthy.
If the Dallas Cowboys are to advance past their state of playoff mediocrity and ever have a chance to make a legitimate claim at its self-absorbed “America’s Team” label, the 80-year old owner must make the move.
Why the urgency?
Because very soon, Sean Payton is going to get his next head coaching job. He’s been courted by numerous NFL teams. There is more than one rival NFL owner who is willing to make a deal with the New Orleans Saints, who still have Payton under contractual control for two more years, and hire him as their next head coach.
And none of those teams seeking Payton’s services have the talent nucleus of the Cowboys.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Jones is interested in entertaining the idea.
When asked if the most recent playoff loss to the 49ers would have any impact on McCarthy’s future, Jones responded to the media: “No. No. No, not at all.”
But, we are reminded by another common Jerry Jones remark: “Just because I say it doesn’t make it so.”
McCarthy is a nice guy. He’s a good coach, but parlaying a 155-97-2 (61.4%) regular-season record and an 11-10 career postseason record simply isn’t good enough. And after watching the Cowboys falter with unusual play calling and clock management, there’s a need to make the change.
Granted, Payton’s record is only marginally better than McCarthy’s.
Payton has a 152-89 (63.1%) regular-season record and a 9-8 postseason mark.
Both McCarthy and Payton own Super Bowl titles with future Hall of Fame quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees).
The main difference is that McCarthy’s teams — whether in Green Bay or in Dallas — have often been stocked with superb playmakers. With the exception of the 2010 Packers’ Super Bowl team, many of the McCarthy-led teams have not reached their potential and their seasons have ended with a greatly disappointed fan base.
Payton always seemed to get the most out of the Saints. Brees was a discarded quarterback that few teams wanted when the Saints signed him in 2006, the same year that Payton arrived in New Orleans. Under Payton’s direction, Brees transformed from a pedestrian NFL career into a Hall of Famer.
Payton was an assistant coach for the Cowboys from 2003-05, staying an extra year under head coach Bill Parcells. Thus, he’s familiar with Jerry World and the media circus that follows it. In his final year, Payton was the assistant head coach; the next season he was the head coach of the Saints.
What would it take to get Payton? The Cowboys would likely need to give up a first-round draft pick. Possibly more.
If Jones doesn’t make the move, there’s a good chance that Payton could still wind up in the state of Texas. The Houston Texans are pursing Payton. They initially interviewed him last week; a second interview could be coming. That’s of course, if the Arizona Cardinals or Carolina Panthers don’t get him first.
Jones has made many head-turning transactions since he bought the franchise in 1989. This is an opportunity make another one and grab America’s sports attention again.