Can Mike McCarthy do with the Dallas Cowboys what no other NFL coach has been able to?
As I pointed out, if McCarthy is to successfully lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl victory, he will become the first head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl with two different teams. While other coaches have been able to make it to the big game with different teams, all have failed to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
To be fair, McCarthy is already in rare company as only 32 different head coaches have managed to win a Super Bowl. Only 13 of them have done so more than once, and they were all the same team. Granted, only 11 of the Super Bowl-winning coaches have gone on to coach another team, so the sample size is rather small.
Philly Voice actually had a great breakdown of these 11 coaches, pointing out that the inherited teams had a combined winning percentage of 0.326 in their previous season. This is where Mike McCarthy’s situation differs, and to his advantage. He’s inheriting a Dallas Cowboys team that many analysts believe is a playoff contender — possibly even Super Bowl-worthy.
On paper, the talent is here. From Dak Prescott at quarterback to Ezekiel Elliott at running back to a group of receivers that can be considered the best trio in the league (Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and now CeeDee Lamb), there’s no shortage of superstars. They’ve got an elite offensive line and a defense talented enough to keep them in every game.
It’s not like McCarthy is stepping into a train wreck in Dallas. He’s inheriting an 8-8 team that actually made the NFC Divisional round just two years ago. This team showed flashes of potential under former coach Jason Garrett but for one reason or another, couldn’t put it all together consistently.
Dallas Cowboys: Garrett and McCarthy the new Johnson and Switzer?
It’s hard to tell if Garrett was the problem or the scapegoat but McCarthy is expected to be the answer. His situation is actually quite similar to that of former head coach Barry Switzer, who took over in 1994 following the resignation of Jimmy Johnson after winning Super Bowl XXVIII.
Switzer guided a very talented Cowboys team to a 12-4 record in his first season but lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship. He would end up helping the franchise capture its fifth Lombardi Trophy by winning Super Bowl XXX the following season in 1995.
This is a path I can see Mike McCarthy following. Garrett didn’t win a Super Bowl in his final season. In fact, the Cowboys limped to a .500 record but that was considered a disappointment.
Expect to see improvement in his first season as the team’s head coach, but temper the expectations — especially with COVID-19 restrictions limiting offseason preparation. Look for a small step forward this season, something the team can build on heading into his second year as coach.
The Dak Prescott situation could throw a wrench into his sophomore season but, in the grand picture, there’s more than enough young talent on this team to give Mike McCarthy a few solid years to work with and build on.
Of the 11 Super Bowl-winning head coaches, Mike McCarthy has a clear advantage from a roster talent perspective. Because of that, I think there’s a good chance he can make history and become the first NFL head coach to win a Super Bowl with two different teams.