It says something about the coaches in the NFC East when you consider that the Washington Football Team’s Ron Rivera is the longest tenured of the four - and he was hired last January.
Last offseason, every team in the division except the Philadelphia Eagles hired a new head coach. And somehow the Eagles, under the guidance of former head coach Doug Pederson, actually performed the worst overall as they finished with a 4-11-1 record.
But as a whole, the NFC East was mediocre last season as it was the only division that was won by a team with a losing record.
It is therefore not shocking that coaches around the division would be somewhat on the hot seat despite their newness. It is however, surprising to consider just how much one NFC East coach is not expected to return.
SportsBetting.ag recently released odds on which head coach will be fired first during the 2021 regular season. Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has the lowest odds amongst the 32 NFL coaches at 7/1 or +700.
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio (8/1) and Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy (9/1) round out the top three while the safest jobs in the league belong to the Kansas City Chiefs’ Andy Reid, New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick (250/1) and Bruce Arians (250/1).
As far as the other NFC East teams, new Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni’s job is the safest as his odds are 50/1. Next is Joe Judge (40/1) and then Rivera (28/1).
Of course, these are betting odds and not necessarily indicative of the truth. Heading into Week 14 of the 2020 regular season, team executive Stephen Jones provided some insight into McCarthy’s status.
“Absolutely no change with Coach McCarthy, and I am surprised that someone would question,” Jones told 105.3FM the Fan. “Mike — these unprecedented situations that everyone’s been in on top of that. No one is making excuses, but we have had some real challenges in the injury category. If you look at his track record and his pedigree, he’s consistently won, year in and year out.
“We have the utmost confidence that this ship is going to be righted quickly, and Mike is going to be the leader of this group. He’s certainly a great head coach and I think we’re going to see that going forward. He’s a great head coach in this league, he’s accomplished a lot, and he’s going to accomplish a lot more before it’s all said-and-done.”
McCarthy was, of course, the head coach of the Green Bay Packers for almost 13 years, recording a 125-77-2 record and leading the team to a Super Bowl victory in 2010. McCarthy has the experience to lead a team to a consistent, winning record season after season. He does not bounce around because he has never had to.
Meanwhile the Cowboys, before hiring McCarthy, had Jason Garrett as a head coach for nine complete seasons. When hiring McCarthy, they also likely hoped he would have staying power.
But then 2020 happened and we all know what that entailed. Mini camps were cancelled. OTA’s were cancelled. And then in Week 5, quarterback Dak Prescott left the team’s game against the New York Giants with an injury and was out for the rest of the season.
Given all of the obstacles, the Cowboys’ 6-10 record last season is not surprising. But there are important statistics to consider moving forward.
The Cowboys have not reached the playoffs since 2018 and they have lost their last five divisional round matchups. Dallas has not won a Super Bowl title since 1995. The only NFC East team with a longer drought is the Football Team, who has not won a Lombardi Trophy since 1991. So there is a desire in Dallas to win and win now.
Prescott’s contract, which was finally finalized this offseason, has only increased the sense of urgency. The signal caller signed a four-year deal and the Cowboys’ future under certain looks murky after that time frame. Prescott is their best chance to win and the Cowboys want to take advantage of his guaranteed presence.
All of this means that while McCarthy had a justifiably difficult first season in Dallas last year, he could seemingly face some pressure if the team does not start winning soon.