The Green Bay Packers announced Sunday that they had fired head coach Mike McCarthy, hours after the team lost at home to the Arizona Cardinals.
“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers,” team president and CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. “As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately.”
Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was named the Packers interim head coach. Murphy said the process of hiring the storied franchise’s next head coach would begin immediately.
Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Cardinals — who entered the game with a 2-9 record — dropped the Packers to 4-7-1 and dealt a crippling blow to the team’s chances of making the playoffs. It was the first time Green Bay had lost to the Cardinals at home since 1949, when the Cardinals franchise was based in Chicago.
McCarthy was in his 13th season as Green Bay head coach, making him the third-longest tenured coach in the league at the time of his dismissal — trailing only Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.
During his tenure, the Packers won their fourth Super Bowl championship following the 2010 season. But recent years had seen the team undergo extended struggles and an increasing reliance on star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, with whom McCarthy seemed to have a strained relationship.
In 2016, the Packers started 4-6 but won eight straight games to get to the NFC title game, losing to the Atlanta Falcons. Green Bay finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs in 2017, when Rodgers missed extensive time with a broken collarbone.
McCarthy shook up his coaching staff, including bringing Philbin back as offensive coordinator and hiring Mike Pettine to replace Dom Capers as defensive coordinator. Different problems emerged.
This year, Rodgers hurt his left knee in the season opener, though he is feeling better now. Receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison have missed time with injuries. The same issues kept popping up for the offense, most glaringly, empty third downs and a lack of explosive plays.
Rodgers was asked after the game — but before McCarthy’s firing was announced — how much blame offensive players should get if the Packers made a coaching change after the season.
“Yeah, a lot probably. We haven’t played very well,” Rodgers said. “We all take part in the disappointments and the failures that we’ve had this season. We’ve had a number of opportunities. It’s not like we’re getting blown out in a bunch of games. We’re in games.”
McCarthy recorded a 125-77-2 regular season record with the Packers and went 10-8 in the postseason. The Packers made the playoffs in nine of his 12 full seasons, including eight consecutive seasons between 2009 and 2016.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.