Mark Craig's Sunday NFL Insider: McCarthy moves among coaching elites

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 24, 2013 - 8:08 AM

Mike McCarthy has come a long way in eight seasons coaching the Packers.

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Brett Favre was Mike McCarthy’s first quarterback when he became coach of the Packers. And eventually he will have injured Aaron Rodgers back. That helps explain his .644 winning percentage.

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If his life becomes a Broadway play someday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy might choose to look away when it reaches the scene about Sept. 10, 2006.

“The home opener?” he said this week when asked if he still remembered his debut as an NFL head coach. “Yeah, I remember.”

Bears 26, Packers 0.

And it didn’t matter that the Bears had returned all 11 starters from the NFL’s No. 2-ranked defense. Or that the Bears would go on to play in the Super Bowl later that season. Or that McCarthy was teaching an old gunslinger — Brett Favre — a new offense with two rookie guards on a team that was 4-12 the year before.

The only thing that mattered was Green Bay getting shut out for the first time in 15 seasons with Favre at quarterback. For the record, the streak ended at 233 consecutive games. Not exactly an early endorsement for a new, offensive-minded head coach.

Today, McCarthy is mentioned in the same sentences with Vince Lombardi. But on the evening of Sept. 10, 2006, he was compared to Lombardi’s failed successor, Phil Bengtson, the Roseau, Minn., native. In the history of Lambeau Field, the only worse shutout than McCarthy’s was Bengtson’s 40-0 loss to open the 1970 season.

“I remember walking off the field through the tunnel and hearing some of the comments from the fans,” McCarthy said. “And I thought, ‘What the heck did I get myself into here?’ You always want to be a head coach, but it was a tough way to start your career.”

The Vikings hired Brad Childress on Jan. 6, 2006. Six days later, Packers General Manager Ted Thompson hired McCarthy.

Childress had gone to four consecutive NFC title games and a Super Bowl as Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. He was one of the NFL’s “hot” assistants even though the Eagles had missed the playoffs in 2005. In fact, the Eagles going 6-10 that year was considered a good thing since it meant Childress could be interviewed immediately by teams that coveted him.

McCarthy, meanwhile, was anything but a “hot” assistant. He was a 13-year NFL assistant who had been an offensive coordinator in New Orleans (2000-04) and San Francisco (2005). The Saints made the playoffs once in those five seasons. The 49ers went 4-12 with Alex Smith, the guy they drafted No. 1 overall instead of Aaron Rodgers, a decision that eventually would work out quite well for McCarthy.

Today, Childress works for Reid as his “spread-game analyst” in Kansas City. He hasn’t been a head coach since being fired by the Vikings on Nov. 22, 2010, a day after losing to McCarthy’s Packers 31-3 to fall to 3-7. Now, Childress’ successor, Leslie Frazier, is 2-8 and in danger of losing his job as he visits Green Bay for Sunday’s game with the 5-5 Packers.

As for McCarthy, yeah, he is going through a tough patch while Rodgers’ broken left collarbone heals. But he will be safe in Green Bay for a long, long time.

He is 85-47, a .644 winning percentage that’s fourth among active head coaches. McCarthy is 6-4 in the postseason, including a win in Super Bowl XLV.

A win Sunday would give McCarthy a 13-4 record against the Vikings, including last season’s playoff game. It also would give him his fifth season sweep of the Vikings and a 15-2 record in his past 17 NFC North games.

Heck, the folks in Green Bay are even trying to find the right time to name a street after the guy. Now that definitely wasn’t something anyone was thinking about on Sept. 10, 2006.

“I think you laugh at those things when you’re sitting on the porch,” McCarthy said. “Hopefully, I’m not sitting on the porch for a while.”

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Houston 2 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Washington 9 FINAL
Atlanta 8
Miami 5 FINAL
Boston 3
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 1
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 5
Detroit - LP: J. Mantiply 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: C. Torres 5
Cincinnati 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Los Angeles 10 FINAL
Milwaukee 1
San Francisco 12 FINAL
Texas 3
Chicago WSox 0 FINAL
San Diego 5
Kansas City 11 FINAL
Cleveland 9
Seattle 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 7
Colorado 0 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 7 FINAL
Arizona 2
Pittsburgh 3 Bottom 7th Inning
NY Yankees 0
Chicago 80 4th Qtr 2:01
Indiana 92
Sacramento 107 4th Qtr 1:13
Orlando 110
Utah 81 4th Qtr 3:05
Philadelphia 69
Miami 95 4th Qtr 1:25
Washington 98
Toronto 94 FINAL
Charlotte 103
Cleveland 72 3rd Qtr 3:50
Atlanta 73
Boston 52 3rd Qtr 9:22
New Orleans 52
Detroit 46 3rd Qtr
Houston 54
LA Lakers 55 3rd Qtr 9:15
Memphis 47
Phoenix 50 3rd Qtr
Brooklyn 46
Denver 44 2nd Qtr 6:54
San Antonio 44
Dallas 9:30 PM
Golden State
Columbus 3 3rd Prd 8:45
New Jersey 2
Minnesota 3 3rd Prd 4:59
Carolina 1
Buffalo 2 3rd Prd
Ottawa 1
Calgary 3 3rd Prd
Detroit 2
Edmonton 1 2nd Prd
Chicago 0
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Longwood 68 FINAL
Char Southern 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Southern Ill 45 FINAL
Wichita State 56
Winthrop 67 FINAL
Radford 66
Evansville 67 FINAL
Illinois State 71
Towson 69 FINAL
Elon 74
Gardner-Webb 72 FINAL
High Point 71
Samford 76 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Northern Ill 57 1st OT 4:30
Ball State 59
Bowling Green 75 2nd Half 0:01
Buffalo 77
Brown 69 FINAL
Dartmouth 75
Toledo 59 FINAL
Eastern Mich 85
Akron 77 FINAL
Kent State 79
Ill-Chicago 72 FINAL
Oakland 69
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Ohio 95
Columbia 46 FINAL
Penn 54
Cornell 53 FINAL
Princeton 66
Central Mich 62 FINAL
Western Mich 74
Bradley 46 FINAL
Northern Iowa 71
Morehead State 67 2nd Half 7:09
Murray State 60
Yale 35 2nd Half 12:49
Harvard 26
Furman 38 1st Half 0:51
Citadel 26
Coll of Charleston 10 1st Half 6:41
Drexel 19
UNC-Asheville 22 1st Half 7:40
Coastal Carolina 18
Texas Tech 12 1st Half 15:06
Baylor 9
Pacific 14 1st Half 11:13
San Francisco 12
Detroit 8:30 PM
Cleveland State
Loyola-Chicago 8:35 PM
Indiana State
Belmont 9:00 PM
Eastern Ky
Loyola Marymount 10:30 PM
Santa Clara
Chicago 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
(21) George Washington 77
Wake Forest 68 FINAL
(16) Duke 77
Furman 55 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 68
Monmouth 61 FINAL
Quinnipiac 82
Michigan State 60 FINAL
(4) Maryland 70
Belmont 65 FINAL
UT Martin 71
Arkansas 36 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 58
Mercer 56 FINAL
East Tenn St 66
Richmond 45 FINAL
Fordham 46
Miami-Florida 61 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
Siena 61 FINAL
Iona 71
Washington St 48 FINAL
(9) Arizona State 67
Ark-Pine Bluff 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 51
(23) Rutgers 57 FINAL
(24) Northwestern 62
Tennessee St 71 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 59
Loyola Marymount 50 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
(18) Texas A&M 65 FINAL
LSU 71
Cincinnati 76 FINAL
UCF 66
Saint Josephs 61 FINAL
Dayton 80
UCLA 62 FINAL
(19) Stanford 67
Santa Clara 42 FINAL
San Diego 51
Virginia Tech 43 FINAL
(7) Florida State 82
SMU 59 FINAL
Memphis 71
Lehigh 75 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Rhode Island 53 FINAL
Duquesne 66
North Florida 35 FINAL
(20) Fla Gulf Coast 74
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
Jacksonville 55
USC Upstate 45 FINAL
Northern Ky 64
Lipscomb 69 FINAL
Stetson 92
Nebraska 65 FINAL
(14) Iowa 74
Saint Peters 57 FINAL
Marist 62
Navy 60 FINAL
Bucknell 49
Lafayette 56 FINAL
American Univ 79
Colgate 45 FINAL
Army 48
Georgia 41 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 75
Dartmouth 71 FINAL
Brown 53
Penn 50 FINAL
Columbia 34
(13) Princeton 70 FINAL
Cornell 37
Kansas 49 FINAL
Kansas State 57
Harvard 68 FINAL
Yale 63
(15) North Carolina 30 2nd Half
(10) Louisville 31
San Jose St 68 2nd Half 14:41
UNLV 59
Houston 13 1st Half 3:15
Tulane 24
Utah State 12 1st Half 15:53
Colorado State 11
Colorado 18 1st Half 13:11
(8) Oregon State 12
New Mexico 6 1st Half 13:06
Wyoming 7
Minnesota 8:25 PM
Ohio State
(12) Kentucky 8:25 PM
(11) Miss State
San Diego State 8:30 PM
Nevada
Niagara 8:30 PM
Fairfield
Texas Tech 8:30 PM
West Virginia
Boise State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Washington 10:30 PM
California
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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