It’s the 100th season for the historic Green Bay Packers organization, but their centennial season is not the storybook year they were probably hoping to have. Due to the team’s poor performance this year and last, the National Football League team has fired head coach Mike McCarthy.
“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers,” team CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement, according to reporting from NBC Sports.
“As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately.”
McCarthy’s departure means that Joe Philbin, the team’s offensive coordinator, has been named interim head coach. The Packers will begin searching for a permanent coach in the near future. Philbin may top the list of possible permanent replacements, however, given that he was part of the team during the 2010-11 Super Bowl championship season. McCarthy was the head coach at that time as well.
Murphy, in explaining his decision to fire McCarthy, recognized the good that the coach and his family had done for the team and the community during his tenure.
“Mike has been a terrific head coach and leader of the Packers for 13 seasons, during which time we experienced a great deal of success on and off the field,” Murphy said. “We want to thank Mike, his wife, Jessica, and the rest of the McCarthy family for all that they have done for the Packers and the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities.”
McCarthy’s termination is a bit surprising, as the season is not yet completed and there are still four games to go. Green Bay has never fired a head coach before the season had come to an end, according to reporting from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The firing seemed to catch McCarthy off-guard too, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “[The] Packers brought in Mike McCarthy after the game and fired him; he was not expecting it, per source,” Schefter said.
To many fans, however, the firing is not a complete surprise — the team has not had a winning season since 2016, and this year’s 4-7-1 record was not promising for a fresh start for the team under McCarthy’s watch. Rumors of his possible firing were swirling across the state, especially if he could not deliver a better performance in the second half of the season.
The Packers apparently didn’t want to wait until the end of the year, however, to make their decision, especially in light of their loss on Sunday to the Arizona Cardinals. The Packers were favored to win the game beforehand but ended up losing to the Cardinals 20-17. Arizona had only won two games prior to Sunday’s win.