Andy Reid’s head coaching success with two different teams indicates that hiring Mike McCarthy may have been the right move for the Dallas Cowboys.
On January 7, 2020, Mike McCarthy was announced as the new Dallas Cowboys head coach. On February 2nd, Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid won his first Super Bowl, capping his 21st season as a head coach and seventh with the Chiefs.
In his twenty-one seasons calling shots, Reid’s teams have reached the playoffs fifteen times. The Philadelphia Eagles enjoyed nine playoff appearances, including a trip to Super Bowl XXXIX where they lost to the New England Patriots 24-21. Under Reid, the Chiefs’ sixth trip to the playoffs ended with the defeat of the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV.
Before Reid’s success in Kansas City, however, his tenure in Philadelphia ended behind two straight seasons of missing the playoffs. In 2011 and 2012, his Eagles finished 8-8 and 4-12.
In 13 seasons as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, McCarthy’s teams made nine playoff appearances. McCarthy’s Packers appeared in four NFC Championship games and advanced to Super Bowl XLV where they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25.
Like Reid, McCarthy’s head coaching tenure ended after failing to make the playoffs in two consecutive seasons. In 2017 and 2018, the Packers finished 7-9 and 4-7-1. Green Bay released McCarthy before the 2018 season concluded.
In McCarthy’s absence this season, Green Bay won the NFC North Division with a 13-3 regular-season record but losing to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. It’s not unusual for new coaches to enjoy success with teams they’ve inherited from successful head coaches.
Jon Gruden inherited Tony Dungy’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won XXXVII that same year. Mike Tomlin won Super Bowl XLIII in his second year after replacing Bill Cowher. And we can’t forget Barry Switzer winning Super Bowl XXX in his second season with the team that Jimmy Johnson built. Even Reid’s Eagles won a championship under his former coach Doug Pederson.
While their successors enjoyed the fruits of their labor, all but Cowher (who retired hasn’t returned to coaching since retiring after the 2006 season) went on to build thriving teams again. Jimmy Johnson returned to the playoffs three times in four seasons as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Tony Dungy won Super Bowl XLI with the Indianapolis Colts. And now Reid has led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl Championship in fifty years.
The Dallas Cowboys fell well short of expectations. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones decided not to retain head coach Jason Garrett after ten seasons with only three playoff appearances and a playoff record of 2-3. Perhaps Reid’s Super Bowl victory on Groundhog’s Day is a sign that the long winter in Dallas is coming to an end under McCarthy.