Everyone knows that NFL stands for “Not For Long.” It’s one of the most common phrases in the game of football and every year we get a reminder as to why. As he heads to only his second year coaching the Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy might be thinking about that definition to some degree.
Recently, BetOnline released its betting odds on “the first head coach to be fired in 2021.” Surprisingly, Mike McCarthy leads the way as an early favorite at 15/2 odds.
- DAL Mike McCarthy — 15/2
- DEN Vic Fangio — 8/1
- CHI Matt Nagy — 17/2
- LVR Jon Gruden — 10/1
- MIN Mike Zimmer — 11/1
- ARI Kliff Kingsbury, Zac Taylor — 12/1
- HOU David Culley, CAR Matt Rhule, TEN Mike Vrabel — 16/1
- GB Matt LaFleur — 20/1
Even though Mike McCarthy’s first season with the Cowboys resulted in a 6-10 record, it’s impossible to ignore the circumstances. Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury in Week 5 against the New York Giants. Dallas was already playing without its two starting offensive tackles.
The Cowboys would later start Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, and Garrett Gilbert with an offensive line that was constantly shifting due to injuries. At some point, Zack Martin (who missed six games) even played at right tackle.
However, an injury-plagued season shouldn’t fully exonerate Mike McCarthy. Frequently, McCarthy’s decision-making was poor. Even in a must-win game against the New York Giants late in the season, McCarthy was okay with not challenging what was clearly an incomplete pass in a key moment of the game. In fourth down, the Dallas Cowboys frequently steered away from going for it when they should’ve.
While that’s still common in plenty of NFL teams today, McCarthy talked about analytics again and again before the season start only to seemingly throw that out of the window the first time it didn’t pay off.
But the betting odds might also reflect a key factor outside of McCarthy’s control… Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore.
In the eyes of coaches and executives around the league, Moore is a rising candidate for head coaching gigs. Moore even flirted with Boise State and interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this year.
The Dallas Cowboys are clearly big on Moore. There’s a reason why he remained the play-caller even after the team hired a head coach who once vowed he wouldn’t give up play-calling duties again.
With Dak Prescott operating his offense, chances are Kellen Moore is on a fast track to become the latest young offensive guru to be named head coach. Despite limited experience, NFL teams have been betting on a lot of young head coaches lately.
Whether it’s in Dallas or elsewhere, Moore is likely to be a head coach in the next few years.
While all of this impacts Mike McCarthy’s job security, it doesn’t change the fact that the Cowboys have a Super Bowl-winning head coach. It also doesn’t change the fact that his first season was one in which he didn’t have his starting quarterback for most of the season.
Unless the Dallas Cowboys have a terrible season in 2021, it’d be a surprise to see the front office move on after such a short period of time. But the oddsmakers’ thoughts on McCarthy’s future might not be as far-fetched as they seem at first glance.
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