Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy returned to the team on Thursday (after being out for 10 days due to COVID-19) and immediately made headlines. McCarthy essentially guaranteed that the Cowboys would win in their Week 14 matchup against the Washington Football Team.
Some people will say it was dangerous to make a guarantee. Others say that’s just what a coach is supposed to say to his team.
Whatever your opinion is, there is no denying that his comments have caused quite an uproar in the press.
More importantly, he’s clearly given Washington some bulletin board material – as if they needed any additional ammo to continue their miraculous, albeit impressive run.
On Thursday afternoon, a few WFT players shrugged off McCarthy’s earlier comments indicating he thought a victory was a lock. Safety Bobby McCain told NBC Sports’ JP Finlay that Washington will let McCarthy “focus on being confident,” while his team “will just focus on winning.” Defensive tackle Jonathan Allen told reporters that the only guarantee in life is death and taxes.
At first, we thought Washington’s head coach Ron Rivera wouldn’t respond. He’s typically a quiet guy who doesn’t get too heated about things. But the response came Thursday evening in an interview that aired on NBC Washington.
Ron Rivera responds to Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy’s win guarantee
Rivera told Julie Donaldson that he thinks McCarthy’s words were interesting, but not important. Rivera went on to say:
"“What’s important is our preparation, getting ready to play on Sunday. Secondly, he’s trying to convince his team. So again, I think that’s another mistake because he’s now made it about him and what he said. It’s not about his players anymore. So, I think that’s a big mistake. That’s why to me, you don’t do those things. What you do is you focus in on, you get ready and you play football. We show up on Sunday and we’ll see what happens.”"
And the NFC East rivalry game just got even more exciting! What McCarthy probably thought was a simple confidence booster or run-of-the-mill comment has now led to serious fuel for both teams. The Cowboys need to assert their dominance in the NFC East and prove their coach right, and Washington now has even more drive to take their four-game win streak to five games by beating an archrival.
In Week 1, we probably would have assumed this Week 14 game would be a boring one. Now, it’s probably the most crucial NFC East matchup so far this season. There are playoff implications for both teams now, which is something that doesn’t happen as often as it used to back in this rivalry’s ’80s heyday.
Unsurprisingly, reporters wanted to see if McCarthy had a rebuttal for Rivera’s comments. McCarthy told the press that any reaction to his previous statement was “irrelevant.” Seems like McCarthy is trying to backtrack a little bit. But it’s far too late at this point.
Regardless of whatever McCarthy truly intended his initial “guarantee” on Thursday, this back and forth is going to make Sunday’s game far more entertaining. Both coaches have plenty to go off of for their pregame speeches.
At the end of the day, what both teams do on the field is what will speak the loudest. Sunday can’t come soon enough!