The writing is on the wall for Mike McCarthy but Jerry Jones’ ego won’t let him finish the job

The writing is on the wall for Mike McCarthy but Jerry Jones’ ego won’t let him finish the job


Jerry Jones (r.) and Mike McCarthy

Jerry Jones (r.) and Mike McCarthy
Photo: Getty Images

Since the Dallas Cowboys season ended in the wildcard round of the postseason, it feels more and more like Jerry Jones is already looking to the future of his head coach position. That spot, currently occupied by Mike McCarthy, feels less secure by the day. Jones is all over the map regarding his head coach. One day he’s giving McCarthy a vote of confidence, calling him a difference-maker. The following week he’s saying he’d hire defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as head coach.

After two mediocre years, the writing is on the wall for McCarthy, and Jones seems to be feeling antsy. It feels like Jones wants to pull the plug but is hesitant for whatever reason. Jerry doesn’t want to lose McCarthy, Quinn, or offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Moore passed on the head coaching gig at his alma mater, Boise State, last year to stay in Big D. Moore won’t pass up the next head coach opening unless it’s for the same position in Dallas. Anything short of that, and he’s gone.

Quinn filled in as acting head coach while McCarthy was out with COVID-19 in December, and that win for Dallas brought on all this talk about him potentially taking over for McCarthy. Since then, there’s been nothing but chatter about Quinn being one of the hottest coaching candidates around the league. Well, their season ended, and Quinn quickly found out his stock wasn’t soaring at the level he or the Cowboys previously believed.

Jones might as well just go ahead and go down on the sideline full time. Just go coach the team officially. It’s been said for years that’s what Jones is doing anyway. Do it, Jerry. Follow in the footsteps of your mentor Al Davis. It’s not like Jones hasn’t been damn near coaching the team for the past 25 years anyway. Jones might as well make it official and be owner, general manager, and now head coach. The Cowboys’ championship drought couldn’t possibly get any worse as a result.

Following Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer, Jones has primarily hired coaches who won’t challenge him, with the exception of Bill Parcells. And Parcells eventually got tired of Jones’ meddling and bolted after a few years. Jones needs to be the strongest personality in the room and on this team. He indeed owns that crown but at the detriment of winning. The spotlight in Dallas needs to be always firmly on Jerry. And fans wonder why the Cowboys can’t advance past the NFC divisional round of the playoffs.

It’s been said many times that Jones will do whatever it takes to win another Super Bowl. Hell, he’s uttered this phrase plenty of times himself. That statement is falser than a three-dollar bill. Jones won’t do anything to win another ring because he hasn’t. He won’t step aside and let football people handle football matters. He’s been a pretty good general manager during his time in the role, but even with all the talent they’ve had, Dallas just can’t get over the hump.

The last thing left for Jones to do is look in the mirror. He is the problem. McCarthy, as an offensive-minded coach, wasn’t even allowed to pick his own OC. I was never a big fan of the McCarthy hire to begin with, but if you’re going to hire someone, let them do the job. McCarthy brought in Mike Nolan as DC his first year in Dallas and was then forced to fire him. This year, Jones brought in Quinn, which obviously worked out as the defensive improved significantly. McCarthy handed over play-calling duties to Moore this year because Jerry didn’t want to lose him.

McCarthy’s tiny bit of power is being stripped away year by year. Jones keeps inching closer and closer to the edge, but won’t get rid of McCarthy. But that’s because if Jones fires McCarthy after just two years, it’ll reflect poorly on him. Jones’ ego and pride mean much more to him than winning. Don’t be fooled into believing otherwise.





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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.