Cowboys' Mike McCarthy Downplays Job Security Concerns: 'I Know How to Win'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 19, 2022

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy speaks during a press conference following an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. The 49ers won 23-17. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The Dallas Cowboys' NFC East-winning season ended in disappointment after the San Francisco 49ers defeated the division champions 23-17 in the NFC Wild Card round last Sunday.

Speculation arose about head coach Mike McCarthy's job security, but that doesn't outwardly appear to be a concern for him, as he told reporters that the focus right now is on evaluating the team with an eye ahead toward 2022.

"We had very positive conversations and, just, the focus is on the evaluation process," McCarthy said regarding talks he's had with team owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

Dallas went 12-5 after going 6-10 the year before, and the team rolled into the playoffs after crushing the Philadelphia Eagles 51-26 in the regular-season finale.

But San Francisco dominated much of the Wild Card Game, taking a 23-7 lead and holding on late for the win.

The Cowboys came back, scored 10 points and had a chance late to win the game, but they ran out of time at the 49ers' 24-yard line after Dallas called for quarterback Dak Prescott to run up the middle with no timeouts and 14 seconds remaining.

Prior to the game, speculation existed that McCarthy could potentially be in trouble.

"If this season doesn't end the way Jerry thinks it should, don't be surprised if [offensive coordinator] Kellen Moore is their next head coach much sooner than later," a source "who knows Jones well," told CBS Sports' Jason LaCanfora. "He does not want to lose him."

Another source close to Jones told LaCanfora: "It's not like there isn't precedent for something like this. Remember what they did to keep Jason Garrett. It wouldn't be out of character at all."

The season didn't end well for the Cowboys, who have now won just three playoff games since their run of three Super Bowls in four years in the 1990s.

Jones also didn't give McCarthy a clear vote of confidence following the loss after answering a question from ESPN's Ed Werder regarding whether a coaching change could be considered.

"I don't even want to discuss anything like that at this particular time," Jones said, per NFL.com. "That's not on the table. The game speaks for itself."

However, Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan that he "absolutely" expected McCarthy back and that he was "very confident" in that being the case.

At any rate, McCarthy further addressed the speculation after reporters inquired about it.

"I think for people in this profession, it's accepted," he said, per ESPN's Todd Archer.

"It's part of the job. I get that. I understand why you're asking the question. It's part of the job. You have a job to do, and I have a job to do here today in answering your questions appropriately and respectfully. But, yeah, I don't put a lot into it because I know personally what I put into this.
"I understand what goes on here every day. I know how to win. I know how to win in this league. I know how to win playoff games. I know how to win a championship. So I have great confidence in that. What we've built here in two seasons, I feel very good about, and I think with that you just stay true to that. The hard part is the personal. We all have kids, so that's the part that I don't like. I would hope people are respectful to that."

McCarthy has coached the Cowboys for two seasons. He previously led the Green Bay Packers from 2006-2018, going 125-77-2 and winning Super Bowl XLV. The Packers also went to the playoffs nine times in a 10-season stretch under McCarthy.