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Mike McCarthy Spoke with ESPN About Leaving the Packers

Ron Zook with Mike McCarthy

© Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently, McCarthy was not thrilled with the way the team handled the situation at the end of last season and his firing. It was probably a humiliating experience to go out in such a state of stagnant mediocrity after having so much prior success in his career. As we mentioned in January, McCarthy has no professional plans for next year other than the occasional buffet and being with his family. Despite that, I doubt we’ve seen the last of him.

Click here to read a full transcript of the interview with ESPN

Here is an excerpt of the interview transcript in which he discusses his dismissal from the team:

Before we talk about next year, I want to go back to last season because you haven’t spoken yet about how it ended. Did you have any indication what was coming before Mark Murphy called you in to give you the news?

McCarthy: Frankly, no I did not. As a head coach, I’ve always tried to stay immune to and stand in front of all the outside noise. That was always my focus with my players. It was always to protect them as much as possible from the drama. I think that’s important. And I stayed true to that to the last day. If we missed the playoffs, I expected change might happen. But the timing surprised me. Actually it stunned me. But time provides the opportunity for reflection and clarity and that’s where I’m at now. And it’s clear to me now that both sides needed a change.

How so?

McCarthy: I go back to really the first thing my wife said to me, the first moment Jessica and I were alone and talking about what happened. She said, ‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m relieved for you.’ I kinda gave her a look. And she said, ‘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.’ That was a couple hours after I got home, and that was the reality, that was the reality that I had to identify with, and that was real.

The ending, many people thought you deserved a better ending. Do you agree?

McCarthy: Obviously. It couldn’t have been handled any worse. Anytime you lose a close game, it’s a difficult time emotionally afterwards, but when you lose a home game at Lambeau Field in December, it’s really hard. And that hasn’t happened very often. I walked out of my press conference, and I’m thinking about the game, thinking about how our playoff shot was now minimal. That’s where my head was at. And when I was told Mark Murphy wanted to see me — and the messenger was cold and the energy was bad. Mark said it was an ugly loss, and it was time to make change. He said something about the offense and the special teams, and he didn’t think it was going to get any better. There was no emotion to it. That was hard.

Every time I released an individual, you get your words right. There’s a personal component to it. You know he has a family. He’s family. There wasn’t any of that. So that was off. The way people leave that building was very important to me. That’s a part of the business. Hopefully moving forward for guys like Clay [Matthews] and Randall [Cobb] and Nick Perry and Jordy Nelson and T.J. Lang, it’s important for them to leave the right way. That way represents the Green Bay Packers standard that I tried to uphold every day.

That exit, frankly, Rob, the exit really stuck with me for a while. It was hard to swallow. The emotional challenge of shifting from humiliation to reflection was a very important step in seeking clarity so I could personally grow from the experience of my entire Green Bay Packer career; that’s what I wanted to get to, not just the ending of it.

But hey, I’ll never forget the response after because I put my phone away [that night]. I woke up, and I could not believe my phone. When we won the Super Bowl, I received over 200 texts. That week, I had over 500. I got more than twice as many messages for getting fired than I did when I won the damn Super Bowl. It’s remarkable. They were from current and former players, competitors, owners of other NFL teams, politicians, media members, guys I competed against that I had never even talked to. I was blown away by it and still am.

When the topic moved to Aaron Rodgers and reports of his complacency, McCarthy had this to say:

In football, there are things that are said on the sideline that stay on the sidelines for players and coaches alike. As far as that situation, I honestly am not aware of it. Aaron has always been heavily involved in game-planning each week and scheme design each year. I entrusted him and empowered him more than any other quarterback I’ve ever been around, especially at the line of scrimmage. […] As far as coaching him, I’d use a lot of words. He’s challenging, very rewarding and fun. We had a lot of fun. Some of my greatest one-on-one conversations, accomplishments, adjustments and adversity we fought through have been with Aaron.

Mike McCarthy’s advice to new head coach Matt LaFleur:

Having been through all this, what advice would you give to your successor, Matt LaFleur?

McCarthy: Matt LaFleur. Totally embrace the Green Bay community with your family. It’s a phenomenal place to live. It’s a phenomenal place to raise a family. You know that, Rob [Demovsky]. Heck, coach your ass off, have fun and enjoy the honor because it goes fast. Enjoy the honor of being the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. Make the program your own. That’s very important. You were hired here for a very good reason; don’t get too far away from that. You have a great group of men in that locker room. I think they’re special, and they’ll work their butts for you.

___________

Nothing too controversial from the interview – just a chance for McCarthy to speak his side and get some closure. I have no doubt that he enjoyed his time with Green Bay, but as he said, it was time for both him and the team to move on.

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Jason Parker

Publisher / Editor / News Guy - Attended University of Georgia - currently living in SE Asia. I've seen Tommy Boy 112 times and I demand some respect.

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27 Comments

  1. StiggyS April 3, 2019

    Classy interview by mccarthy.

  2. Larry April 3, 2019

    Typical brainless fluff piece by Demovsvky. Never asked why MM bastardize the WC offense. What happened to the slants and screens. No questions about why he sucked at hiring coaches. First question should have been, why did you fall in love with the FB dive play. Why was your play calling so predictable. Instead, it’s a feel sorry for him piece. Fuck Mike McCarthy and I’m glad the firing hurt. He robbed every Packer fan of what should have been a dynasty with his piss poor coaching skills.

    1. PF4L April 3, 2019

      Well, that blame was shared. Again, not defending him whatsoever, just saying. This goes back to me saying you can’t remove part of the disease and then expect to have a full recovery.

      Let’s look at the guy who brags…”Coaches and players want to come here because this is a great organization, we take care of our own.”

      They may overpay their own, but that’s where it stops. See Nelson, Lang, Sitton, and others.

    2. thomas balistreri April 7, 2019

      agreed…Demovsky going along to get along like all the local writers…just like Dunn until he left the fold

  3. PF4L April 3, 2019

    I agree with McCarthy on one thing. I thought the timing of the firing was bs. And i say that not being a fan of McCarthy.

    Citing McCarthy’s tenure, Show some class and fire him on black Monday. I believe it was nothing more than a power play by Murphy, to show that he was actually in charge. I’m sure some here understand what i’m saying.

    At first i thought the early move was made for McCarthy to take the Browns job. Sans that, it was a bush league move by Murphy. After 11 years, Murphy then decides he wants to actually get involved with the team. He was 4 -5 years too late.

    He wants to show he’s in charge by firing McCarthy “in season”. But doesn’t blink an eye and even endorses Thompson during his years of regression.

    BROKEN

  4. KILLER April 3, 2019

    McCarthy is a jerk all about himself. His ego is far fatter than his gut. By far.

    A few things.

    Yes, timing was totally wrong. What Piffle said it all correct (this time). A supposed class organization that is not and hasn’t been since Wolf. You fire someone in season when the wheels have totally fallen off or other major mitigating circumstances. Let alone a long time Super Bowl winning coach. Totally off. Firing him early accomplished nothing and could not. It wasn’t like they gave Philbin a real shot. If they won all their games they still would not have made him HC. The firing was basically PR for their own benefit. Bad executives who are also survivors throw people quickly and readily under the bus. Blame game.

    McCarthy, though, is a drama queen liar. The firing was handled poorly but it was not, as he claims, a case of “It couldn’t have been handled any worse.” There is lots worse possible. It was done in private. It was done face to face. Etc. and so forth.

    Then McCarthy talks about how important it is how people leave the building blah blah blah like he would never fire someone in a bad way. Oh yeah, Mikey? How about how you had that twenty year veteran hardcore Packer fan groundskeeper fired for a harmless comment he didn’t even make? (He supposedly said “Don’t lay an egg on Sunday.” Good advice the Packers did not follow as they went ahead and lost to the great and wonderful purple Guardians of the North)

    Or how about how he scapegoated Brandon Bostick and had an ASSISTANT fire him BY PHONE. At least Murphy did it himself and in person.

    So, no, the firing was not actually at all handled worse than any other way possible. He knows it because he himself has done worse to others. Drama Queen! Liar!

    Then he lied about a bunch of other stuff but the list is too long to enumerate.

    Summation: A bad person was fired badly by a bad organization.

    1. PF4L April 3, 2019

      Show me when i wasn’t correct Lonely Boy. I’d be amazed if you could find 2 or 3 instances over the years.

      Most of us don’t like you, or want you in our domain, but we understand your lonely and you need friends, (we get it). But on the bright side though, God and your Mother love you (probably).

      1. PF4L April 3, 2019

        “What Piffle said it all correct (this time).” – L. B.

        Wouldn’t kill you to brush up on your grammar. Those GED exams aren’t going to pass themselves.

      2. Ferris April 3, 2019

        You mean you’re lonely not your. Just saying. If we are talking grammar police.
        And you’re right he is lonely. How does he know Bostick was cut over the phone? He is lonely to do that much reading. They should have tossed him off the plane.

        1. PF4L April 3, 2019

          Really?

          1. Ferris April 4, 2019

            I can’t help myself.

  5. Cheese April 3, 2019

    A few things have popped up in my head. First, yes, this was a classy interview by Mike McCarthy. I wish him and his family well because that is much more important than any job or football team. Like his wife, I am happy for all of them that he gets to spend more time with his family for the time being.

    I can understand McCarthy’s perspective on the situation. Saying that things were handled in the worse possible way, as if we haven’t seen that before. Just ask Jordy about that one. Dare I say it’s not the last time either? Of course Murphy has to let everyone know that he’s the one in charge because how else would we know without him telling us every chance he gets?

    On the other hand as the antagonist, McCarthy said that the talk about complacency and accountability bothered him because “it’s not accurate.” “I held my coaches and players accountable every year.” To that I would disagree. Shawn Slocum and Dom Capers were not held accountable. The only reason they were let go was to be used as scapegoats after extremely embarrassing moments that were predictable based off of the years of poor performance by both the special teams and defense. On top of that, you have several players who are team leaders saying that guys are not being held accountable. Just maybe they were onto something…

    “If we missed the playoffs, I expected change MIGHT happen, but the timing surprised me. Actually it stunned me.” While you can argue about the level of respect that comes with a mid-season firing vs a black Monday firing, how can you not have a clue that you’re on the hotseat? How long did Mike expect to ride Murphy’s gravy train? Then again, McCarthy isn’t going to say in a public interview “I knew for sure I was gonna get canned and boy was I right.”

    I’m not taking sides on that one. It is what it is. It’s shitty to do a midseason firing. Was the disrespect worth it? I don’t know how much of a head start Murph got on his coaching search during those 4 weeks. He definitely didn’t waste any time doing second interviews we know that. At the same time, with the way things were boiling over can you imagine what it would have been like if McCarthy was still the coach at the end of the year when the Packers got BLANKED at HOME by the LIONS in DECEMBER? Not that it matters, the Packers weren’t going anywhere anyway.

    1. PF4L April 3, 2019

      Looking at the big picture, waiting till seasons end would have been the right move (imo).

      Personally speaking…i got robbed of watching McCarthy sqirm the last 4 weeks in his pressers.

      1. Cheese April 3, 2019

        Seeing McCarthy squirm would have been enjoyable, or listening to his stubborn presser after the Detroit game would have made for a good laugh.

        Would keeping McCarthy for four more weeks have created a more toxic locker room? I can’t speak on that because I wasn’t there. One thing is for sure, the writing was on the wall. Or you could say it was in flashing neon letters on the massive Lambeau video boards.

  6. Cheese April 3, 2019

    A few things have popped up in my head. First, yes, this was a classy interview by Mike McCarthy. I wish him and his family well because that is much more important than any job or football team. Like his wife, I am happy for all of them that he gets to spend more time with his family for the time being.

    I can understand McCarthy’s perspective on the situation. Saying that things were handled in the worse possible way, as if we haven’t seen that before. Just ask Jordy about that one. Dare I say it’s not the last time either? Of course Murphy has to let everyone know that he’s the one in charge because how else would we know without him telling us every chance he gets?

    On the other hand as the antagonist, McCarthy said that the talk about complacency and accountability bothered him because “it’s not accurate.” “I held my coaches and players accountable every year.” To that I would disagree. Shawn Slocum and Dom Capers were not held accountable. The only reason they were let go was to be used as scapegoats after extremely embarrassing moments that were predictable based off of the years of poor performance by both the special teams and defense. On top of that, you have several players who are team leaders saying that guys are not being held accountable. Just maybe they were onto something…

    “If we missed the playoffs, I expected change MIGHT happen, but the timing surprised me. Actually it stunned me.” While you can argue about the level of respect that comes with a mid-season firing vs a black Monday firing, how can you not have a clue that you’re on the hotseat? How long did Mike expect to ride Murphy’s gravy train? Then again, McCarthy isn’t going to say in a public interview “I knew for sure I was gonna get canned and boy was I right.”

    I’m not taking sides on that one. It is what it is. It’s shitty to do a midseason firing. Was the disrespect worth it? I don’t know how much of a head start Murph got on his coaching search during those 4 weeks. He definitely didn’t waste any time doing second interviews we know that. At the same time, with the way things were boiling over can you imagine what it would have been like if McCarthy was still the coach at the end of the year when the Packers got BLANKED at HOME by the LIONS in DECEMBER? Not that it matters, the Packers weren’t going anywhere anyway.

    1. Cheese April 3, 2019

      Whoops. My first post didn’t show up at all so I tried twice and nothing came up again. I gave up and figured they would get found in the filter eventually but it looks like they both made it through. This message board has a mind of its own.

  7. Howard April 3, 2019

    I was 90% sure MM would get fired by seasons end after punting on 4th down late at the Seahawks. I was 100% sure MM would not make it till the end of the season after the gun sounded against Arizona. I never thought the team would fire MM right after the game.

    To me you don’t wait till the end of the season, but you do wait till Monday or Tuesday after the game.

    I looked at the interview as MM wanting to get ahead of a few things before the new season starts.

    No coach wants to have complacency, or not holding others under them accountable uttered. It can kill a current or future job. Those words are almost as bad for a coach to hear as the team wasn’t prepared, or were not focused. Many times in the last few years the Packers players looked unfocused and not prepared to start a game, start a half, or finish a half or game. FINISH STRONG was not a saying the MM lead Packers knew well.

    The other thing MM must be considering is you want to show (to future job interviewers) you are keeping your head in the game, thus the last portion of that interview. You don’t want to give the appearance that the game has passed you by, because you took a year or two away from the game.

    1. Stiggy April 3, 2019

      I forgot about that punt… the second seattle game I can remember that he should have been fired as a result of. The last one was several years ago… you may remember it as Oilers Bills 2.0

  8. PF4L April 3, 2019

    He was there 13 years. WTF is 4 weeks?

    How many years too long, did Murphy give Ted before someone had to tell Murphy to fire (reasign) him?

    If Murphy needed that extra 4 weeks, maybe the Packers weren’t the premier destination for coaches after all.

    Murphy could have fire McCarthy two weeks after the season and still hired LaFleur.

    Murphy is a train wreck.

    1. PF4L April 5, 2019

      Ferris….i done screwed up again. I meant to type fired, instead of fire. Please accept my deepest apologizes.
      I feel absolutely terrible about this. One day, someday, i’m hoping to make you proud again.

  9. Ferris April 3, 2019

    Ask Bill B. how much emotion he feels when he cuts players? Answer….ZERO. They have a job, they are not doing it well…bye bye. No different for Mike M. What Murphy should have said was….”Mike I should have done this 4 years ago in the locker room after the Seattle game you idiot.” Me giving you this much time after that was the “Green Bay standard.” Now get the fuck out of my office and don’t try to steal my hostess cupcakes on the way out.

  10. Zwoeger April 3, 2019

    Another thing showing mini Mike is not very good in seeing how things were evolving around him is that texting thing. Nowadays the devil and his grand grandson are, politicians even.

  11. KILLER April 4, 2019

    Can y’all handle the truth? Probably not.

    https://bleacherreport.com/reaction-to-packers-drama

    No, no, no…. your golden calf idol shall remaineth thine idol unto sucheth time as he doth depart (the green seas). Then ye shall turneth pon him liken unto a foul beast.

    Yes… ignore the truth for now until one day it is there to serve your Packer spite.

    1. Ferris April 4, 2019

      Here is some truth. Never gets old.

      1. Ferris April 4, 2019

        Here is some more.

  12. PF4L April 5, 2019

    Can we please get to the next article so we can blast the shit out of Aaron Rodgers and give him blame for all the dysfunction on the field and in the front office?

    Lets do this!!

  13. DONALD KLEVEN April 9, 2019

    Mm was wore out you could tell. But his teams won alot of games you cant take that away from him.he will come back someday and he will be sucessful.big thanks too mike mcarthy