There’s little argument that Aaron Rodgers’ talent is such that his Green Bay Packers probably should have won more than one Super Bowl by now.
For quite some time, there have been those who blamed coach Mike McCarthy for the lack of titles more than credited him for steering the team to that title.
Now the world will find out just what Rodgers and the Packers are capable of without McCarthy, who was fired after a 20-17 loss at home to the lowly Arizona Cardinals on Sunday that dropped Green Bay to 4-7-1, its worst start since 2006. It was an abrupt end for McCarthy — who did win a championship, after all — and rare upheaval for a model franchise that last changed coaches during a season 75 years ago.
It’s likely other coaches who are in trouble around the league will get a chance to ride things out through Week 17, but Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis, Jacksonville’s Doug Marrone, the Jets’ Todd Bowles and Carolina’s Ron Rivera all should be wary. When Rivera was asked whether he’s concerned about his job security after a 24-17 defeat at Tampa Bay dropped the Panthers to 6-6, this was the reply: “I’m not going to address that question. Do not ask that question again, please.”
Rodgers is a two-time NFL MVP, and he was the Super Bowl MVP when the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the big game in 2011, all under McCarthy.
Year after year more recently, though, Green Bay would reach the postseason only to wind up with so-close-but-so-far exits.
“We’re just not executing well,” Rodgers said, “and it’s the same things over and over.”
Not long after those words were spoken, team president Mark Murphy released a statement announcing that McCarthy was gone. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will fill in.
This season is essentially over; the Packers are a half-game out of last place in the NFC North. Now they can start pondering their future — as can McCarthy.
He likely will get another chance elsewhere. Presumably, Rodgers will be given some input on Green Bay’s choice of a new coach. He turned 35 on Sunday, and the opportunities to win a second Lombardi Trophy are fading.