ARLINGTON, Texas — Before the Cowboys’ 48-32 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the wild-card round of the playoffs was even finished Sunday, there were questions swirling about the job status of Dallas coach Mike McCarthy.
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, now 81 and a 28th season removed from the franchise’s last Super Bowl appearance, would not get into what might or might not happen with McCarthy as Jones stood outside the locker room after the game.
“I haven’t thought one second about it,” Jones said. “I know how hard, how much it meant to our fans to advance. What this loss to me means, again, not how [or] why, who didn’t do what, all of that type of thing — the only thing on my mind almost this entire game was not an analysis of our strategy, not an analysis of our play, it was, ‘Do we get to play here again next week?’ And we can’t. That could have happened by a point or it could have happened the way it happened out there. That’s all I’ve thought about. It’s real.”
McCarthy has one more year left on his contract. He is 42-25 in four regular seasons with the Cowboys, including three straight 12-win seasons and NFC East titles in 2021 and 2023. But he has just one playoff victory, and Sunday’s loss came with the Cowboys having the chance to play two postseason contests at AT&T Stadium before a potential NFC Championship Game.
“I think the biggest thing is we’re disappointed,” McCarthy said. “I got a whole team in the locker room that’s hurting. I haven’t thought past the outcome of this game.”
Jones said he does not have a meeting planned with McCarthy.
“What I had planned to do was be with him [Monday] going over how we played [Sunday] and getting ready for the coming week,” Jones said. “That’s what was on the agenda. [Monday], my agenda will be to dismiss the team.”
There are seven head-coaching openings across the NFL: Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Washington Commanders, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks. A number of high-profile coaches also are available, including Bill Belichick, who won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.
A number of Dallas players stood up for their coach, including quarterback Dak Prescott and left guard Tyler Smith. They said they appreciated McCarthy’s willingness to take care of their health and well-being during the course of the season.
“He’s been amazing. I don’t know how there can be [questions about his status], but I understand the business,” Prescott said. “In that case then there should be about me, as well, honestly. I mean, that guy — I’ve had the season I’ve had because of him. This team has had the success that they’ve had because of him. And I understand it’s about winning the Super Bowl, and that’s the standard of the league and damn sure the standard of this place. I get it. But add me to the list in that case.”
Prescott is signed through 2024 and is set to count $59.4 million against the salary cap. Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones have said they want to keep Prescott for the long term. The Cowboys cannot place the franchise tag on Prescott after the 2024 season, and an extension would lower that cap figure and allow the organization a better chance to keep free-agents-to-be Tyron Smith, Dorance Armstrong or Jourdan Lewis.
“He’s been amazing. I don’t know how there can be [questions about his status], but I understand the business. In that case then there should be about me, as well, honestly. I mean, that guy — I’ve had the season I’ve had because of him. This team has had the success that they’ve had because of him.”
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott on coach Mike McCarthy
Jerry Jones gave a similar answer about Prescott’s future to what he said about McCarthy’s.
“I really haven’t thought about this at all, so I won’t comment on it since I haven’t thought about it,” Jones said. “My complete thoughts for the last several weeks have totally been around anticipating and planning on advancing from this game to another game here at the stadium since we found out we were going to have this home field.”
Prescott led the NFL in touchdown passes in the regular season with 36, cutting back his interceptions from 15 — which tied for the league lead last season despite missing five games — to nine. He completed a career-high 69.9% of his passes with McCarthy serving as his playcaller for the first time in the head coach’s tenure.
But against the Packers, Prescott had two interceptions, including one that was returned for a score that upped Green Bay’s lead to 27-0 in the second quarter. Prescott finished with 403 yards on 41-of-60 passing with three touchdowns and the pair of picks. It was his first multiple-interception game at AT&T Stadium this season.
“I’m not a guy that lives in the past, and so where my feet are and at this moment, yeah, I mean, I sucked tonight,” Prescott said. “That was it. Got it going a little bit later, but none of that mattered at that point. Fought. That’s all I really know how to do. But yeah, I mean it’s about winning. It’s about winning in the playoffs and then getting to the last game and winning that, as well. And yeah, tough.”