When will the national media give Mike McCarthy his flowers? For whatever reason, McCarthy is typically last on the player and coach pecking order in terms of who's given credit for the Dallas Cowboys success.
Dak Prescott is deservedly the frontrunner to win MVP, but lest we forget that Prescott is playing the best ball of his career in McCarthy's Texas Coast offense. While Prescott didn't play at the absurd level of his last several outings in Sunday's season-defining win against the Eagles, McCarthy pushed all the right buttons in the victory.
McCarthy put forth a coaching masterclass in the first half alone, which is wildly impressive when you remember that he underwent emergency surgery on Wednesday to remove his appendix after he experienced abdominal pain.
McCarthy was healthy enough to coach, but he wasn't 100% physically. On Friday, the head coach told Patrik Walker of DallasCowboys.com that he'd have a guard nearby in case player (or players) came barreling toward him on the sidelines.
That bodyguard? None other than Cowboys tackle Matt Waletzko.
Cowboys OT Matt Waletzko served as Mike McCarthy's bodyguard vs the Eagles
What a great catch from Walker, and what a fantastic idea by the Cowboys. At 6-foot-8 and 305 pounds, Waletzko is capable of stonewalling any out-of-control player who could have injured McCarthy. Just days removed from surgery, the head coach was likely sore and there's zero chance his scar was fully healed.
We don't recall Waletzko springing into action to shield McCarthy, but this was an ideal tune-up for the second-year tackle, who was placed on injured reserve in August with a shoulder injury and just last week was designated to return from IR and got back on the practice field.
He now has a 21-day practice window to get activated to the 53-man roster. If he isn't activated before the window expires, he'll go on season-ending IR.
The fact Waletzko kept a low-profile on Sunday night indicates he'd make a great bodyguard -- and undoubtedly a better one than Eagles head of security "Big" Dom DiSandro, who was banned from the sideline on Sunday following his altercation with 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw in Week 13 that saw Greenlaw ejected.
Physical health aside, McCarthy was in his bag Sunday night.
The Cowboys scored on all four possession in the first half to take a 24-6 into halftime. Beyond that, McCarthy had a successful fourth down conversion that preluded a touchdown and a successful challenge that turned a 4th and goal into a touchdown after Rico Dowdle was ruled short of the end zone.
All just days after his appendix was removed in Dallas' biggest regular season game in recent memory. Take a bow, McCarthy ... and Waletzko for volunteering to protect the head coach in a moment's notice.