Cowboys' Jerry Jones: 'I've Gone Up a Notch' on Mike McCarthy After Win vs. Bucs

Adam WellsJanuary 17, 2023

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 16: Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the third quarter in the NFC Wild Card playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 16, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It's rare to see a head coach get a vote of confidence after a playoff victory, but Jerry Jones usually marches to the beat of his own drum.

The Dallas Cowboys owner had high praise for Mike McCarthy following the team's 31-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Monday's NFC Wild Card Game.

"You think I was sold on him before this outstanding game for the Cowboys; I've gone up a notch," Jones told reporters after the game.

Jones added Tuesday on Shan & RJ on Audacy's 105.3 The Fan that McCarthy has done an "outstanding job" this season.

There has been a lot of speculation about McCarthy's future with the Cowboys over this season.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio noted on Dec. 24 that Jones might turn to Sean Payton as his next head coach if the Cowboys were one-and-done in the playoffs.

Jones did a good job of trying to quiet any discussion he was considering replacing McCarthy.

"No. I don't even want to ... No. That's it," Jones said last week on 105.3 The Fan when asked about McCarthy (h/t ESPN's Todd Archer). "I don't need to go into all the pluses or minuses. I've got a lot more to evaluate Mike McCarthy on than this playoff game."

The Cowboys struggled down the stretch in the regular season. They finished 2-2 in their final four games and allowed 28.3 points per game during that stretch. Dak Prescott went 14-of-37 for 128 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a Week 18 loss to the Washington Commanders.

None of those problems were evident against the Buccaneers. After going three-and-out on their first two possessions, the Cowboys scored touchdowns on each of their next four drives. Prescott went 25-of-33 for 305 yards and four touchdowns.

McCarthy has been successful in his three seasons as Cowboys head coach. The 59-year-old has a 30-20 overall record, including back-to-back seasons with 12 wins. Monday was Dallas' first road playoff victory since the 1992 NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Cowboys will play the 49ers at Levi's Stadium in the NFC Divisional Round on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.