The Dallas Cowboys haven’t put together a complete performance since they boat-raced the Vikings in Minnesota on Nov. 20. The Mike McCarthy-led contingent has won four of five since then, but the results have largely overshadowed a string of worrying performances, especially at the start of games.
That fate-tempting stretch was (fittingly) capped by an overtime loss in Jacksonville after blowing a two-touchdown lead in the second half. After narrowly escaping a win vs the lowly Texans, the Cowboys’ Super Bowl contender cologne has worn off, and the familiar “pretender” label is being thrown around by the media.
You know, the same conversation that happened after Dallas blew a two-touchdown advantage in the fourth quarter vs the Packers before losing in overtime.
The NFL is a week-to-week league, and no team has more conclusions drawn about them on a weekly basis than McCarthy’s Cowboys. While some of the criticism is warranted, it’s often blown out of proportion There are bound to be slip-ups in a league that spans four months and has a lot of parity.
The media didn’t hold back on McCarthy after the Jaguars collapse. By all accounts, ESPN analyst Rob Ninkovich led this charge by proclaiming the head coach will be on the hot seat if the Cowboys lose to the Eagles on Christmas Eve.
Will Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy be on the hot seat soon?
Well, the Cowboys beat the Eagles anyway, so that’s too bad!
Imagine going on national television and declaring the head coach of a then-10-4 squad (now 11-4) is in danger of losing his job?
This isn’t LeSean McCoy levels of trolling, but it’s pretty darn close, as Ninkovich (conveniently) forgot that McCarthy kept the Cowboys afloat with a backup quarterback. Did it slip Ninkovich’s mind that Dak Prescott underwent finger surgery after Week 1? That Dallas went 4-1 with Cooper Rush starting?
That stretch included wins over the Bengals, arguably the hottest team in the league since November, on the road against a 2-0 Giants team, a convincing win at home vs Washington, and dominating the Rams, who, at that point, still had all their stars (Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford) in Hollywood.
The Sean Payton rumors are intriguing, and Jerry Jones has made his desperation to win a championship abundantly clear, but for Ninkovich to say the Cowboys will be looking for a new head coach like McCarthy is easily replaceable is hysterical. A 28-19 record in two seasons — including 5-1 without Prescott — is nothing to sneeze at.
This isn’t all to say McCarthy is a perfect coach, or won’t face immense pressure if the Cowboys crash out of the playoffs in humiliating fashion.
But to imply he’ll be out of a job after leading the organization to the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1998-99, and double-digit wins in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1995-96 is some take from Ninkovich.