This is not a fair proposition.
After leading the Dallas Cowboys to back-to-back trips to the playoffs for first time since 2006-2007 and back-to-back 12 win seasons for the first time since 1992-1995 when they won three Super Bowl titles in four seasons, Mike McCarthy absolutely deserves to continue as the team’s head coach.
The players love McCarthy. He takes care of their bodies.
He knows how to navigate the adversities of the season as well as the obstacles placed on him by visible and talkative owner Jerry Jones.
The team made progress as regular contender even though the moves of the front office had him fielding a less talented offense in 2022 than he had in 2021.
Even though the results were the same with the Cowboys again failing to reach the NFC title game since their last title in 1995, they made a step forward in 2022.
But this is not a show, friends. This is show business.
And, of course, we learned a long time ago that life is not fair.
Jones has stated on a number of occasions that the team’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional playoffs will have no impact on McCarthy’s status as Cowboys coach.
But there still remains the question of should he go in another direction?
While many people offer up former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton as the ideal choice to replace McCarthy if Jones moved on, the best option might be closer to home in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is presumably on his way out of the door.
Quinn is a top candidate for head coaching jobs with the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, and Indianapolis Colts.
Considering his experience as a former Super Bowl head coach with the Atlanta Falcons and the miracle work he has done revamping the Cowboys defense from one of the worst in franchise history in 2020 to one of the league’s best the past two seasons, there is no way he gets shut out this coaching cycle.
Now a year after making McCarthy uncomfortable by floating Quinn as a possible coach of the Cowboys following the season-ending loss to the 49ers in the wildcard playoffs in 2021 to keep him on the staff and opposing team’s at bay, is Jones got to sit idly by and let him walk away?
Jones gave Quinn a substantial raise to keep him last season.
Money won’t be enough in 2023.
Quinn wants to be a head coach. He will have offers elsewhere to do so
Jones thought he was too critical to McCarthy and the team’s success to hopefully take the next step in 2022 that he let his current head coach twist in the wind.
Quinn’s defense was even better in 2022 than it was in 2021 and the Cowboys became the first franchise to lead the NFL in turnovers in back-to-back seasons since the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1972-1974.
So the question must be asked.
Are the Cowboys better off going forward with McCarthy and no Quinn?
A potential in-house defensive coordinator options for the Cowboys if Quinn leaves is defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr.
He knows the system and could carry on the philosophy and scheme.
But he certainly doesn’t have the coordinating chops of Quinn.
An intriguing outside candidate could be former Denver Broncos head coach and noted defensive guru Vic Fangio.
Or would you rather have Quinn, who has the benefit of everything McCarthy put in place the last few seasons as well as offensive coordinator Kellen Moore?
What should Jones do?
McCarthy doesn’t deserve the question.
But with a 27-year gap between Super Bowls now extending to at least 28, nothing is out of bounds.