Mike McCarthy sat down for an interview with ESPN's Rob Demovsky, and it was the first time he's really spoken in this type of setting since he was fired by the Packers in early December. In general, McCarthy was both reflective and candid, acknowledging, via relaying comments from his wife, that a split was the best thing for both sides.
However, McCarthy is still hung up on the timing of his firing and the manner in which it went down. With regards to the latter, he probably has a proper bone to pick. As far as the timing, though, it's kind of insane for him to say that he was “stunned” about when it happened.
When McCarthy was fired, the Packers had just lost their third game in a row, at Lambeau, to the 2-9 Arizona Cardinals, as two-touchdown favorites, in a game Green Bay truly needed to win to have any reasonable shot at making the playoffs.
The idea that a midseason firing is the height of disrespect to a football coach is insane to me. If Packers brass knew — and they certainly did — that the time was up in the McCarthy era, why wait? The timing of the move allowed them to evaluate Joe Philbin as a potential head coaching candidate and also enabled McCarthy to get his ducks in a row to pursue new opportunities. That the Packers had never fired coach in the middle of the season before is not logic for their not to have done it then.
Ultimately, McCarthy's Jets candidacy did not come to pass, but surely he was in a better place to prepare for that process than he would've been if he were fired on Black Monday.
Where I will accept McCarthy's logic is when he says that he deserved to be treated like a member of the family by Packers president Mark Murphy in the moment of his firing. Here's what McCarthy had to say about that:
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.
Ultimately, there's no way in the moment that McCarthy would have been satisfied with his departure. However, upon reflection, he deserved for Murphy to treat him like a human being and not a disposable widget. The time was right for him to go, but his aggregate tenure in Green Bay was very successful and respect for that body of work should have been properly conveyed in that fateful meeting.