First up: Bill Belichick leaving will get his own week, probably after the season ends. Something of that magnitude deserves comics. Black Monday is always a topic I tend to backburner because it happens right as the playoffs start and there is simply too much to talk about, and the firings don’t always happen at convenient times. Plus, by the offseason, we’ll know where he ends up and how most of the hires end up.

So let’s talk about a coach who isn’t getting fired. Mike McCarthy!

The Cowboys didn’t save the embarrassment for the final play this time. They went whole hog and made the embarrassment the entire final game. Hell, they didn’t even go whole hog. They went multiple hogs. We’re talking multiple-digit hogs. For everyone who wasn’t a Cowboys or NFC North fan, this was the funniest possible outcome. So for the 3rd season in a row the Cowboys won 12 games, waltzed into the playoffs looking like they’d finally break the curse of expectations that has sat on their shoulders since the mid 90’s, and committed seppuku. Both previous losses were against the San Francisco 49ers, who have generally been one of the top teams of the conference for the past several years. The games had been competitive but the Cowboys would come up short at the end. First with an ill-advised quarterback draw that ran out the clock. Then, in a much more desperate and unlikely situation, they put Zeke at center to get wrecked. This year they couldn’t even manage to reach the 49ers. The 7 seed Packers, an inconsistent squad still finding their footing, took them behind the shed and blasted them with an AK-47 for 60 minutes.

Looking back on the season with hindsight the Cowboys were frauds. They played 4 playoff teams: The Eagles, the Dolphins, the Lions, and the Rams. The Eagles would also turn out to be frauds, and they even lost to them the first time. The Lions win was controversial as the Lions had the final conversion stolen from them due to bad officiating. The Rams win was during the Rams earlier phase, when they were 3-4 and still finding their footing. The Dolphins, another fraud, beat them. All the wins came in Dallas. The rest of the season was spent beating the piss out of clearly inferior squads (and also losing to the Cardinals lol) and losing to better teams like Buffalo and San Francisco. Honestly they were the NFC equivalent to Miami: good at beating up bad opponents, but couldn’t handle any team that could punch back.

But this is still wild that in 3 straight years of winning 12 games and looking like a genuine competitor in most instances, they’ve fallen apart immediately. They have 1 playoff win to show for it. They sent Tom Brady’s old and injured Bucs team into retirement last season (which isn’t a bad legacy to have, all things considered) but that Bucs team was barely limping into the playoffs as it was. The Cowboys have spent so long being crushed by the weight of their own expectations. What else can it be at this point but that? The Cowboys have not been a dumpster fire of an organization for most of the time since the late 90’s like, say, Washington. They’ve had two good to great franchise quarterbacks. They’ve generally had some incredible talent filling out the rosters. Coaches have generally been given adequate time. Jerry has a reputation as a quick trigger but he shouldn’t. Parcells, Wade, Garrett, and McCarthy have all gotten 4 or more seasons. Garrett especially was received with patience and he arguably achieved less than McCarthy already has. Remember that in 2011-2013 the Cowboys entered the final week of the season at 8-7 with a chance to win the division and all 3 years lost to the other 3 NFCE teams, respectfully. Giants got them in 2011 (and went on to win it all). The RG3 Skins got them in 2012, and the Eagles got them in 2013. Funniest streak in sports, imo. Never forget that.

After that meltdown many people immediately wrote McCarthy off as a dead man, especially with Belichick available. Didn’t happen. I see the argument and think most people were jumping the gun. Nick Sirianni of the Eagles also appears to be staying for now as of writing. A lot of people calling for their heads seem to forget that despite how things ended coaches who take their teams to the playoffs consistently do not tend to get fired. Getting to the playoffs is an achievement. How many coaches can you name that got fired after reaching the playoffs? Marty Schottenheimer on the Chargers is the obvious one, Jon Fox “mutually parted ways” from the Broncos after losing in the divisional, but anyone else? I can’t think of any. This is extremely rare. The Cowboys have been good under McCarthy. Sometimes you just need that one year when things go right. I expect him and Sirianni are severely on the hot seat starting next season though.