The Demovsky-McCarthy Interview Confirmed Many Truths
Jason excerpted the Mike McCarthy interview with ESPN’s Rob Demovsky on Total Packers on April 3. [https://totalpackers.com/2019/04/mccarthy-espn-interview/] McCarthy obviously picked Demovsky, who he repeatedly referred to as “Rob,” feeling he would get a sympathetic hearing. Demovsky, in return, instead of going for sensationalism or controversy, allowed Big Mike to freely express his views, and they were revealing.
To start with, McCarthy acknowledged he was “stunned” by the timing of his firing. But given the time to reflect on it, the coach admitted “(I)t’s clear to me now that both sides needed a change.”
That is quite a statement, and a humbling one. Though club president Mark Murphy has gotten lots of criticism for firing his head coach within hours of a humiliating home loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals, McCarthy appears to agree the move was needed and the decision was justified. I credit McCarthy for his candor.
The interview became more telling as it went on. McCarthy related that when he first talked to his wife Jessica following the firing, she said:
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m relieved for you. . .The last two or three years, you haven’t been here physically or mentally. Every family loses their husband, father during the season, but you’ve been gone the last two off-seasons. I know you’re not happy with the way things were going there, and it’s beat the hell out of you. It’s beat the hell out of you the last couple of years. It’s been hard to watch it.”
Big Mike wouldn’t have relayed his wife’s observations if he thought they were wrong, so the coach is verifying the accuracy of her remarks. He’s agreeing that he was indeed “BROKEN,” going back to 2016 or 2017. If you subscribe to the stages-of-grief model, McCarthy has just passed through “denial.”
This comes as no surprise to Total Packers readers, as TP and our commenters have been incessantly raising that alarm for at least back to 2016. It’s satisfying to be proven so right – though I never would have expected an acknowledgment would come from the coach himself.
For me, the surest signs came in post-game interviews following losses. What we saw was a man on the defensive, combative, making excuses rather than accepting blame. McCarthy was simply in denial – not dealing with reality. As time went on, and embarrassing losses piled up, it became obvious to many of us that McCarthy would be unable to reverse the direction the team was going.
The missus was dead on when she said her husband hadn’t been here physically or mentally. His loss of confidence and composure, and his growing paranoia, was indeed difficult to watch. Taking the slings and arrows of critics goes with being an NFL head coach. Things got to the point that McCarthy could no longer handle it. The wife was brutally honest: it beat the hell out of him.
Until Jessica spoke up, I might have been the only one to address his physical condition. I did a post on February 2 comparing the appearances of the departing and incoming coaches, concluding: “Big Mike for years hasn’t been physically fit enough to handle the rigors of such a demanding job. It’s retirement time.” [Link: https://totalpackers.com/2019/02/matt-lafleur-appearances/]
I’m not trying to shame the Pack’s head coach of 13 years, most of which featured the green and gold playing high-quality football. There’s another head coach who went through the same head trip recently. Here’s how former Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine similarly described his fall from grace, and the year he spent away from coaching:
I was just beat up, physically, mentally. I just needed the time off. It took me a while before I felt like I could smell smells and see colors.
Is McCarthy retiring permanently, or taking a sabbatical? We don’t know, and I doubt whether he knows. My guess is he won’t be afforded an opportunity to return as a head coach, and I doubt Big Mike would be willing to return to the NFL as an assistant coach. The NFL is undergoing a youth movement with its head coaches anyway. McCarthy, who is 55, went 125-77-2 as the leader of the Pack. That will probably be his final NFL tally – and it’s one he can look back on with fondness.