The Panthers fired Ron Rivera on Dec. 3, with Perry Fewell finishing out the season as the interim replacement.
Rivera's ouster came almost exactly one year after the Green Bay Packers fired McCarthy. He guided Green Bay to a Super Bowl victory in 2010, and the Packers reached the playoffs in nine of his first 12 years. He left with a 125-77-2 overall record.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported this past January that McCarthy planned to interview with the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns as they looked for new head coaches. Schefter followed up to report he was focused solely on the Jets' vacancy, with New York opting instead for Adam Gase.
Before leading the Packers, McCarthy was an offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco. His resume fits with comments Panthers owner David Tepper made regarding his preference for Carolina's next head coach.
"In the modern NFL, I think there is a preference for offensive coordinators (and) I think there are reasons for that," Tepper said, per the Associated Press' Steve Reed. "That does not mean that if you find somebody fantastic on the defensive side, I won’t consider it. If he has old-school discipline and modern and innovative processes."
McCarthy's critics contended the team's success was more down to Aaron Rodgers rather than the coaching. Bleacher Report's Tyler Dunne also reported in April that Rodgers and McCarthy didn't have a great relationship and that Rodgers expressed frustration with his coach's decision-making:
"But even in the best of times—when confetti should've still been stuck to their clothing—one person who was then close to Rodgers remembers he would regularly call to vent that McCarthy didn't have a clue what he was doing. He'd tell him that McCarthy frequently called the wrong play. That he used the wrong personnel. That they were running plays that worked one out of 50 times in practice. That McCarthy was a buffoon he was constantly bailing out.
"'Mike has a low football IQ, and that used to always bother Aaron,' this source says. 'He'd say Mike has one of the lowest IQs, if not the lowest IQ, of any coach he's ever had.'"
The Packers' lack of offensive evolution was a common refrain when analyzing the factors leading to McCarthy's firing.
The early reaction to Monday's report in Charlotte appears to be lukewarm at best:
It's probably safe to say the Panthers don't intend to end their coaching search anytime soon, though.
They can interview McCarthy now because he doesn't have a job. The team would surely want to also interview coaches who are working elsewhere in the league once the regular season ends.